Monday, November 07, 2011

Taking responsibility for my own training.

It's time I stopped feeling somewhat sorry for myself and started stepping up to the plate.  What do I mean?  Well, I've always had this vaguely childlike attitude towards my jiu jitsu training.  I want to be taken care of-- brought along-- guided-- almost parented-- by my instructors and coaches.  I've said before I have "daddy" issues and to some degree it's not a joke.  I flourished under a relatively paternal coach in other athletic endeavors throughout my life-- my riding instructors, my track coaches, my racquetball mentor, all the way up to my current trainer and Oly lifting instructor.  They've all, to one degree or another, found what makes me tick and perform best.  I need/prefer/like to have a coach who follows my progress personally, who mixes stern demands with warm praise.  I like to feel like I have their focus, and once I do, I will break my back for words of commendation and approval.

So jiu jitsu used to do that and have that for me.  Of course it's a predominantly male activity, so most of the people who mentored me from the start were guys, and especially at the beginning, I got plenty of focus from them since I was one of a very small number of girls at the academy.  But then our academy started changing-- the head instructor moved out of state, another blackbelt left, a substantial number of the guys who used to give me lots of time and attention have gone elsewhere for training.  Plus, I'm now kind of invisible in the academy, because I'm a fixture.  I think I'm less the pet/mascot/little sister and definitely more the average ordinary bluebelt like any other bluebelt.  This is GREAT in the sense that I am counted an equal (in terms of meriting help or attention; not in skill!) of the guys.  But it sucks because I realize.... there's no one watching my progress and deciding what I need to learn next but me.

So, I decided recently that I will embark on a program of vegetables before dessert.  I will drill at least 20 minutes on something useful before any fun sparring.  I will map out my gameplan (after this oral argument tomorrow!) and begin fleshing out the weak places.  I have NO EXCUSE for the gigantic stack of notes taken in privates and classes and seminars that basically collects DUST and by now is impenetrable gibberish since I haven't reread the contents in months and YEARS since they were written.

That is a box (like an inbox) on my desk at work into which I started depositing notes from classes and so on-- over two years ago-- the box has been filled and emptied (into a desk drawer) 3 times-- the stack in the box is currently 2 1/2" tall and there's probably another 4-5" in the drawer. This is ridiculous. Plus all the instructionals at home (500 gig worth!) I don't need any more classes, I could just live on a desert island (with mats and a partner) for a few years and still have oodles of things to work on.

So that's the plan, minus the island of course.

JoshJitsu's blog pointed out this cool site, by a UK BJJ fighter and strength/conditioning coach named William Wayland. Check out his slidecast on integrating your S&C for BJJ and MMA.

To start your Monday off right, here's a recipe for the version of brownies I first gave to Marcelo Garcia at the seminar in Dallas in 2009.

4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 tablepoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup each chopped walnuts, milk chocolate chips, and semisweet choc. chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Microwave chocolate squares (not chips) and butter or margarine in large bowl at HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter or margarine is melted.

Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, then chips and nuts.

Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until edges pull away from pan sides. (In my oven this is more like 29 minutes so do NOT overbake!)


Jodie said...


Don't be too hard on yourself. It sounds like you are at a place in your training where you have to make some decisions anyway. What do you want from training? What motivates you?

If your motivation is the guys that train with you, then try to reconnect with the guys in your gym, or consider moving on yourself. You know as well as I do that good women are valued on the mat.

Also, if your coaches aren't watching your progress, I would be concerned. Just because you are a blue belt and don't have to be reminded to upa every time you get mounted, doesn't mean that they should be ignoring you.

Goals are good. They are what keep us going when times get rough.

Thanks for sharing your challenges.


Kintanon said...

I disagree with Jodie. BE HARD ON YOURSELF.
This is probably the most common issue I see with women in grappling and one of the more common ones with men.
BJJGrrl also struggled with taking control of responsibility for her training, as has SavageKitsune.
I did as well until I realized that my coaches have a lot of people to manage and they don't necessarily know precisely what some random blue belt needs to know to progress. Once I got my head around that and started directing my own training in class to a degree I made rapid progress and I continue to do so.

Are your coaches watching you? Of course. They are watching everyone. That means that can't watch you 100% of the time, that's just the way it is.

I highly highly recommend going through those first few homework assignments I posted about building your game to help you with taking control, because this will be simultaneously the hardest and most rewarding thing you've ever done with your jiujitsu.

Mrs. Ibarra said...

Nice post Georgette! It feels like you are in my head today. I've been having a similar experience lately. I've tried to take charge of what I can control. I decided I would train extra after every class I attend. I try to drill technique or just roll and try to tweak my game plan. It gives me an extra hour on the mat that I normally wouldn't get. My schedule is limited so I need all the time on the mat I can get! The key was to find someone who had the time (and was a higher belt that me) and was willing to help. I've ended up with a couple of great blue belts that are truly invested in helping me succeed (and who won't listen to my whining and refuse to let me use the word "can't"!! :D

SL said...

First of all, thank you for the browning recipe!!! *hearts* I can't wait to bake it over the weekend.

And second of all, good luck in taking charge of your own training. There's this article on BJJ Weekly that's a pretty good read:

Zen Mojo said...

Just in case you missed these among all the snarky humor I've posted lately (insert shameless self-promotion here):

AND I think my next topic will be on "prioritization" - how do we make the most of our limited time?

Ben said...

Looking forward to reading about where this new path takes you. Good luck!