Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bright girls?

Parked at the ag campus this morning and ran to the gym for a warm-up.  Stretched a bit, tried to roll out on a foam roller, except they're only a foot long, and did plank 60 sec x 2.  I stuck with 55 lb for squats and 85 for deadlifts, but did more reps (8 as opposed to 3) this time.  Only got in two sets for the deadlifts because I had to get to class.

I ran into Mash after vet school classes today, and she expressed how frustrated she was that she "still" can't pass guard (she started around February).  I told her, probably in terms too blunt and a tad bit unkind, that if she's frustrated at not being able to do it now, she's going to be REALLY frustrated months from now when she still has trouble with it.

I really didn't mean to be so mean, but I see her and Peggy (who is also in my vet school class and started BJJ at the same time as Mash, but has some Army Combatives experience) getting frustrated so easily with their jiu jitsu "not working".  Both of them are slightly bigger than me, but still way smaller than just about everyone else in class.  I'm a little worried that this frustration is going to burn them out.  But then I wonder if I was like that too when I first started--was I always that frustrated at the things I had just learned but couldn't do?  Am I as frustrated now, but just better at hiding it?  And how much of this inability to get things to work leads the few women who start BJJ to drop out?  I posted an article on Leslie's Facebook page a few weeks ago, The Trouble with Bright Girls.  The three of us are in vet school, which took some pretty rigorous standards to get accepted to, so clearly on some level, we're bright girls.  It SUCKS not being "good" at something, and it's even worse that for a long time, I had very few opportunities to objectively test my ability.  Even when Jess came, I knew that anything I did with her was her being nice and letting me work.

When I finally tried my hand at competition, I was disappointed.  Sure I submitted one girl, but there were three sloppy armbar attempts before the last one stuck (with twelve seconds left!).  Then I spent my gi rounds getting my face crushed by elbows from girls posting on me in my guard.  I KNEW they had terrible form (and no base), but I could barely do anything.  I felt like all my hard work on "good jiu jitsu" was useless.  Really, I shouldn't have been so upset--the truth is, the things they were doing were such terrible jiu jitsu and such big no-no's that no one in my school does them.  If no one does them to me, how am I supposed to know how to defend against it? After the competition, I made sure to ask about that stuff and the solution was really simple.  THEN I felt bad for not figuring it out myself--isn't part of jiu jitsu learning how to move, not just parroting back techniques we learn in class?

Class tonight started with the front hair-grab defense.  We did a quick review of the bottom cross side escape, then went into kimura from guard.  Open your legs to come up and thread your arm over the shoulder and then through the hole.  Pull them up and trap their one leg with yours; shift your hips so you're on one side and come down.  Then keep your leg (the one used to trap their leg) stays tight to their body and comes up their back to cross again with the other leg.  Keep their elbow to your chest and finish.


  1. You can tell Mash that I just got my purple belt and I STILL struggle to pass the guard. In terms of frustration, you could also direct them to the thing I wrote on that topic here, if you reckon it would help. ;)

  2. @slideyfoot Thanks, slidey! I probably could have been a little more gentle about it in the first place, and I'll probably send her that link--I know it's useful for me! Whether she's ready to accept what it says, I'm not sure, but that's just something she'll have to come to on her own. I have confidence that she'll get there.