Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Walking & Skipping & A New Yellow Belt!

On Saturday, my daughter went to a belt test and was awarded her yellow belt.  I am very proud of her.  It is not always easy being one of the only teenage girls training and recently she has been attending a few adult classes.  I was very hesitant for her to step over into the adult class.  Maybe I was scared or nervous or not ready for her to experience some of those things that come with being a girl in the adult class.  You see, in the kids class and even in the teen class, it is a lot easier being the only girl. I guess kids haven't morphed into all the stereotypical male/female roles yet.  They are just kids being kids and having fun doing BJJ.  She's done a few adult classes now, but I can't say that my nerves are completely settled.  I just have all these fears...what if some new dude is inappropriate with her...what if someone is too rough with her...what if someone hurts her.... and the list could go on forever...because I will always be her overprotective, worry-wart of a Mom.  Maybe I shouldn't worry so much.  I know that our Elite instructors will take care of her.  I know that if anyone does anything inappropriate that the "MAT POLICE" will take care of them.  I know in my heart that she is tough and strong and has skills, but I will worry anyway.  But I will learn to let go a little bit at a time and let her make this journey in her own way.  She was just bubbling with excitement after her belt test.  I can't help but share this note she wrote.
"Had the most A M A Z I N G  D A Y  E V E R !  Received my yellow belt in Jiu Jitsu. I'm pouring with amazement & joy & happiness & well I'm just E C S T A T I C ! Thanks to my mom who is always encouraging & has that deep fire in her heart to keep going & pushing me along the way when I want to stop! & thanks to all my instructors who never gave up on me. Who helped me. Who got me to where I am now. Thanks Everyone, who ever gave me any kind of encouragement. You guys at Elite MMA are absolutely amazing."

It renews my spirit and makes my fire burn brighter to hear those words from a 14-year old girl!!  I want that for myself...amazement, joy, happiness...to be E C S T A T I C.  Heck, I want that for everyone.  We should approach this jiu jitsu journey with all those things and more.  If you're not feeling those things anymore, take a break, figure out why, re-focus and start over. 
My Girl after getting her yellow belt!!

On a different note, I've been letting my son take a very long, extended break from jiu jitsu.  He had a very difficult school year and is just plain burnt out.  I haven't forced him to go to class in a very long while.  I think it's important for him to play and have fun and just be a kid for now.  I know that some disagree with my choice to do this, but for our family, this is the right thing for right now.  I know that he will come back from this break ready to train and with a renewed interest.  In the end, it doesn't matter how long it takes each of us to make the journey, what matters is that we finished the race.  My kids are very young, and they have a lifetime to learn and grow and walk their own jiu jitsu journey.  In the immortal words of our coach, "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon".  And in my immortal words, "I've got a lifetime to run the race" (or in my case, walk, because we all know how much I HATE to run). 

A very happy, relaxed 11-year boy having fun at the Science Museum!

I'm going to close with some very wise words from my friend (The Teacher Mom Donut-Eating MMA Lady).  This is from her blog post "I Train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu". 

"I came to martial arts in my own time, at the right time, and I learn in real time. It's not easy, and I have to work hard. I learn at my own pace, at my own level, and I am taking this as my own journey. I think I am close to allowing myself to let it be mine, and to accept myself where I am. I want to accept that it will take time for me travel the rest of the way. I hope that "the rest of the way" takes a long, long time, and that I never stop learning." 

Those are some mighty powerful words.  What are your thoughts on the jiu jitsu journey?  How do you make it your own?   Are you walking and skipping slowly through your journey?  Are you sprinting through it at break-neck speed?  However you choose is okay because it's your journey! :)

Fun times at the Science Museum!!


  1. Congratulations to your daughter Debra, you must be extremely proud!

    Now, for the journey...

    I could write for pages, but I'll keep it short and say I am in a focused, balanced, place.

  2. Congrats to your daughter, that it really cool! Btw, my daughter is 18, and I'm still scared for her to go to the adult class, so I understand.

    I suppose I've been racing through my journey, because in some ways I feel like since I started later in life, I want to make up for lost time. Lately though I've been trying to slow down and enjoy all the stops along the way.

  3. Thank you for posting this, Debra, and I love that ya'll are taking this journey as a family! I was brimming with excitement and with tears as I read about Emily getting her yellow belt (even though I already knew, saw the belt, and gave her a hug!). I love what she said about you. I wish that everyone reading this blog could have the privelage to know you and experience the warmth, openness, and acceptance of your family like I have. Thank you for including my words - what an honor! - and I am proud to be taking this journey alongside you. Like you with Ben, I know some may not think it was the best for me to let Eliza sit out for this time, but I know it was the best thing for our family.

  4. Congrats to your daughter! The more I think about getting more women into BJJ, the more I realize that realistically the tipping point will not be in my generation or yours -- it will be our daughters'. Not that I have kids right now, but you know what I mean!

    Also, that quotation by MMA Lady is beautiful. Thanks for bringing her blog to my attention.

  5. Thanks everyone for the kind words. My daughter also says thank you...she was thrilled that I blogged about her!! I am so happy to have found a great community of people to share my love of jiu jitsu with. I am so excited about the future of women in BJJ...not for myself...but for our daughters (and future daughters). I can't wait to see where the journey takes my family. As far as my journey goes, am walking very, very, very slowly because that is the only way I can learn; but I do wish I could be sprinting because I am very impatient and I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Thanks again everyone...have a great day!! :)