So last night I was late to jits, missed technique for the most part (it was armbars) and settled in to roll nogi with Ulises again. He's a blue, one of my closer friends at the academy, and always very encouraging. I'm currently frustrated by my inability to deal with his butterfly guard. When I manage to pass, it always seems to result in a brabo choke... and if I sit back and play open guard with him, it ends in a footlock/kneebar. He's good at being heavy, considering he weighs somewhere around 155-160. I was happy that it only took me an hour to realize that one week before NAGA was no time for me to start adding more new techniques to my short bookshelf. (I don't mean literally a bookshelf... my brain is like a bookshelf, and adding new techniques ends up pushing old/half-learned techniques off the back end, only to be discovered piled up on the floor when asked to clean my room. Or something like that.)
After that, I showered and met my husband at a dance/music charity event, heard some fine performances, watched salsa dancers and bellydancers get their groove on... went out for sushi, and collapsed in bed at 11am.
Just want to point out that anniversary weekend (with the attendant delicacies like duck braised in its own fat, risotto, and cake... cookies... wine... chocolates... and 3 days off jits and out of the gym entirely) was not helpful on the weight front. Since the NAGA weight classes are sooooo generous for women (lightweight is 134.9 and below) I have been very casual in terms of monitoring my calorie counts. Honestly, I shouldn't be anywhere near that number, but I also got a little free and loose over Christmas, and haven't competed since, and so... When I stepped on the scale Monday night I'd skyrocketed. Surely it's all water and I'll pee like a racehorse and be fine! Um, no. So this week has been hardcore exercise, strict intake control, and a plan for the day before and of weighin that doesn't sound fun at all. Right now, after eating and drinking, in the lightest shorts and tanktop I own, I'm 137. I feel relatively confident that by Friday when we arrive in Dallas I will be under 134 with those clothes on, their scale or mine.
Anyway-- the title refers to a fanTAStic private I took this morning with Donald Park, a Royler black belt who has a profound understanding of basic bedrock principles in jits. I keep saying there's only like 10-12 different things in jiu jitsu; Donald contends there's only one. He hasn't told me what it is yet, but I'm betting it's center/contact. Yeah, yeah, so that's technically two, but I think with my feeble grasp of the concept that they're two halves of the same coin.
Anyway, how mindblowing was it to focus on two things-- side escape and mount escape-- and see how contact makes escape so logical. I totally need to drill, drill, drill some of the new movements, and do lots of positional sparring to problem solve and practice matching their connection with the proper response on my part.
He also gave me a talking-to about my competition anxieties/gorgonzola hangups. Not a cheese phobia (indeed, I wish I didn't love me some cheese.) I have been self-deprecatingly calling myself a gorgonzola belt (mostly white, some blue) and not being positive about my journey. I don't like seeing other blues who really know [something] but he reminded me that every blue starts at a different spot in the jiu jitsu realm, and goes a different path. It's just so hard when you feel like you're lacking basic stuff at every turn in the road. I realize my mental "soundtrack" has me comparing myself to a brown belt (it's ok if I lack a recognizable series but maybe not so much for a brown) and a purple belt (it's ok if I lack a stable of sweeps) and even a certain white belt training partner. That's the real rub-- but I was reminded that they train their ass off, have only jits and school to focus on, and are only working on 2-3 things total. I'm described as working on 50 things. I think there are pros and cons to both approaches, but I am going to narrow my focus a bit more and see how that feels in a couple months.
And, bottom line, I'm going to NAGA with my head up. I am a brand new blue... and while my amazing ego would LOVE for me to win my division, I'm not counting on anything other than being the most tenacious fighter. I know I have the cardio, the strength, and the mental drive. Whether my jits vocabulary is up there yet is not as important.
You gotta love the journey, and I do.