Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I cried this morning.
It's been a long, long time since training made me want to cry. So long, in fact, that I thought I was getting better enough at the zhu zhits' that perhaps I wouldn't have to cry again. Ha ha ha, funny girl.
At least I knew from prior experience that this is best done in the bathroom.
Of course now I'm spoiling it by blogging about it, but I doubt the people present at the time read my blog, so I think I'm okay. I'm just confessing to you, my brethren and sistren of the net.
Our school has an "official" class three mornings a week at 6am, but one of my fave training partners has a key and permission to come in for dedicated drilling sessions on other mornings. I inveigled my way into this bonus training, and reward his patience by picking him up on the way to the academy and giving him a ride home on my way to work. That kind of spread into picking up two others and giving them rides home too-- silly university students without cars!-- but I don't mind, they're all within 30-40 lbs of me or less, they're all very skilled and technical, and they're all funny as shit, so it's win-win for me.
This morning there were a couple other guys as it is an official class morning, including a purple who just came back to training after tapping out testicular cancer. Woot! I had some good rolls, trying to implement bits and pieces of advice people have tossed my way. (Last night, another purple schooled me a bit on my half guard passing, and it worked decently well.) I really enjoy playing with a new guy who just moved here from a Machado school out of state, because he has that rare, delicious ability to ratchet his resistance and speed to be just two notches above my own, and he gives hints, suggestions, and encouragement here and there. He doesn't critique the whole time; he doesn't wait till you almost have him to tell you how to do it better, he just fights you, convincingly, until you walk right by the $20 on the sidewalk, and then he points at it. And then afterwards, he always has some kind words.
So I was feeling challenged and successful, but humble from watching my betters tear each other up on the mats. It was good stuff. Then, one of the best blues in our group asked me to roll. [cue ominous music]
I'm usually pretty good at identifying a goal to suit my opponent. If I roll with a noob, then success might be submitting them with a particular submission on my bad side without going to a particular position to get there. With an upper belt, success might be just not getting submitted or avoiding submission for a certain number of minutes. With this particular person, I was hoping for success in the form of passing his guard. (And to my delight, it did happen, once. I did something Dan suggested to me yesterday, and it worked, I landed in side control, and grinned like a fool.) The flipside was, if I got swept, I knew my guard would be pretty easily passed, so I would shift to a "don't get submitted" defensive paradigm.
This is all standard stuff and I imagine it sounds familiar. So why did I cry? Because at a certain point, I felt like it was getting to be a beating. Humiliation. Not necessarily the intent of my training partner, who's a swell guy.. but it reminded me of this video of Galvao, I think, against some JJJ black belt who thought he could hang with BJJ black belts. Galvao gets him all turtled up and then just dances across his back, stands on him, does acrobatics, even a little break dancing, the whole nine yards. I tried to find it again on youtube and couldn't, dammit. Edit: Yes, thanks Steve, that's it. Here it is:
Andre Galvao Jiu-Jitsu Pwnage - Watch more Funny Videos
Specifically, I didn't have an answer for some positions. One being me in sit-up guard, wrapped around his leg, but unable to get up because he had good hand pressure on the top of my head. Looking back I should have just gotten a cuff grip, pulled his hand off my head, and held that grip behind his knee. But I felt like the prototypical little brother, swinging madly and ineffectively at his big brother who holds him at arm's length with a hand on the forehead.
Another trouble spot being turtle. I can turtle up pretty tightly, but when they just kneel on my back and wait, it sucks. I feel so weighed down that I don't even try to roll forwards. The process of rolling to guard is sloooooowwwed down and I feel totally vulnerable at all stages along the way. If I just sit there in a hedgehogy ball, he does all those Galvaoist antics on my back. This happened once, and I eventually got my back taken. (Fine, it happens, I actually escaped, but I'm pretty sure he gave it to me.) Second time, I tried to roll to guard, but that sucked; it took me a year or so, and he passed like knife through proverbial buttah. Third time, I was pretty close to tears, so I just tapped, thanked him for the roll, and went to the bathroom.
I was thinking, I don't deserve to be a blue belt. I am utterly failing to represent my instructors. I am so far behind the other blues I train with. Training seven days a week does me no good at all because I have the memory of a goldfish. (Every eight seconds it's all new.) Seems like rolls all go so fast-- positions change in a heartbeat and I don't have photographic/videographic recall. I can't remember where grips are, where my base is, what my posture was, so I can't later reflect on where things went wrong so that I can even ask others for help. I'm flailing. It's fun to roll, sure, and it's zen to let it all go and not dwell. But if I can't remember, if I can't masticate later, if I can't fucking DWELL on my mistakes, I can't fix them. And if I do something right, I can't be sure of repeating it.
When you're all hot, and sweaty, and your breath is coming a little fast, crying isn't even easy. And it doesn't feel much better while you're crying, or after. There isn't that release, that catharsis. Your hands are on the sink, your head is hanging, and all you can smell is the warm humidity of your own sweat and the faint scent of your laundry detergent rising like mist off a swamp. You're trying to be quiet, and you hate that you're crying at all because it seems like the ultimate in submission. It's not a momentary "you got me"-- instead, it was for me a confession of elemental inadequacy. A complete collapse of confidence.
I peeled a stripe off my belt and threw it away.