My training has been a little spotty lately, in part due to a ramped-up workload at the office, visiting friends from out of town, and some other personal issues.
I love training at my academy because it's big. There are so many people there that no matter your size, experience level, or goals for training, you'll find other people like yourself. If I want to roll with someone my size, I have options at all belt levels up to purple, and there's Donald for my truly self-punishing moments when nothing but the gentlest trouncing will do. Another benefit of a big academy is that I have fewer chances to get into a training rut with the same group of partners. It's true, I tend to gravitate towards people I'm friends with (though that is hardly a limit, as I feel like I get along with everyone well and could ask anyone to train with me without hesitation.) However, now and again I'll realize I haven't rolled with someone for a month or more. That's fabulous, because then when we do hit it, they have the perspective to be able to point out things I am doing differently. All you parents who draw lines on the wall to mark your child(ren)'s growth know what I'm talking about.
Another reason I love my big academy is that we have enough upper belts to teach a TON, I mean TWO THOUSAND POUNDS of classes. Most of our classes are taught by black belts or at least a 4 stripe brown. A few are occasionally taught by a purple, but that's not the norm. This is not to say anything negative about our purples, all of whom are righteous in use of tight technique *and* who can eloquently get their points across no matter your learning style. Just that having a plethora of upper belts around to teach means we offer classes 2-3 times a day, 7 days a week, 364 days a year... well, except for 2009, when we even had people training on Christmas Day. The level of addiction is obvious :)
Last Saturday during a round robin drill, whoever was in the middle got to pick the starting position. My partner, a one stripe purple, picked being mounted-- and no one was more surprised than MEEEEEEEEE when I took their back and almost choked them out before time was called. *prance, prance* Aside from that I find myself playing a lot more guard, especially 93 guard and/or butterfly. Not effectively, don't get me wrong, but I am trying to be always attacking, and it's been fun. The window of opportunity for me to roll successfully with a whitebelt guy has expanded as well: there are now approximately 72 mat-hours in the life of a male wb in which he has passed beyond the spaz noob stage (and therefore my life and limbs are relatively safe) but has yet to learn so much that I can't beat him. No offense to new wbs, really... but trust me, I'm so damn happy to have enough technique to beat your misapplied-but-superior strength. I'm happier than any other bluebelt ever will be, so please, understand why I don't play catch-and-release like the other blues will (or should, or do). I am tickled to be able to land real live submissions on you. Please forgive me for enjoying these 72 hours, yeah?
On a more personal note... I am working incredibly hard on sorting out some personal life issues. It sucks to be 37 and feel like you're, at best, 25. The whole concept of opportunity cost sucks. I wonder if it wouldn't be easier if I just stfu and put on blinders and moved forwards without always endlessly considering the hypotheticals... but that isn't keeping me from said endless consideration. They say you don't make changes until your pain thermometer reaches a 10; not even a 9.5. Well, when things are pushing you to change, but they're not quiiiiiite there yet, it's just plain painful. I want resolution *now* dammit. I am endeavoring to learn patience; to live the questions now until I can live my way into the answers. But it's nowhere near that easy. Ever the hedonist, I push to fit as much living and experience and pleasure as I can into every twenty-four, "just in case." Having both parents pass away when you're young will do that, I guess. Word of advice-- you can't control your heart no matter how old you are. [grumble, grumble]
So, while I'm hemming and hawing and thinking and plotting, I cook. I have been eating really yummily lately, too. Buttermilk biscuits and honeybutter. Pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes and basil and garlic. Penne puttanesca with shrimp. Sesame-crusted salmon with sweet & sour spicy chutney and brown rice and green beans. And I can't forget Scott's birthday cake, a sour cream fudge layer cake, chocolate ganache between the layers and chocolate butter icing all around. Gracias to the sous who helped me, of course. And gracias to Mark for all the help with my new netbook. Can't say enough good things about ubuntu!!!!
Wish me luck, ya'll, on these decisions and thoughts and stuff. Makes jits seem easy.