Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Balancing Act

Jiu jitsu is a balancing act.  For a sweep or a choke to work you have to find the right balance, the right leverage, the right amount of push and pull...if you are off, it won't work.  Sometimes people can muscle their way through a move, a sweep or a choke.  I can not.  I am older and shorter and slower than most people at my gym.  I have to be spot on in my technique for it to work right.  I have to find the right balance.  It's frustrating at times when we drill and some people muscle their way through every technique we work.  That is not my reality.  If I try to muscle you, and if I am frustrated with you, I might, all that's going to happen is me getting really tired, really fast and possibly hurting myself.  I have to slow down and work the technique.  Those folks who continue to muscle their way through jiu jitsu are completely missing the point and will soon become frustrated at their lack of progress.  Jiu jitsu is designed for the smaller, weaker person so that we can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger person by using leverage and proper technique.  So this "zip-tie" choke that we worked last night is probably a good choke for someone like me.  You don't have to be strong to apply it; you just have to do it correctly.  If done correctly, very little effort is exerted and it is very effective.  I do love the idea of a good, effortless choke.  That is my preference you know, to choke you, not armbar or triangle you, CHOKE YOU!!  LOL...not kidding though.  ;)

Being able to train jiu jitsu is also a balancing act.  I have to balance a full time job, a home, two kids and a husband along with thousands of other things that come with being a working Mom.  Normally I can find the right balance.  I am blessed with a family who helps me balance it all.  It definitely takes a fair amount of leverage and push and pull to get to class most days.  I start my day around 5 a.m., commute more than 40 miles to work, work a 9+ hour day, commute 40 miles back, pick up my daughter from marching band practice, go home, make sure homework is done or underway, make sure everyone has what they need, everyone is fed, find my gi and pack my gym bag and then I can go train.  Then after all that, I go home and make sure the homework actually got done, backpacks are packed, binders are checked people have what they need for the next day, do a load of laundry, shower at some point, and hopefully veg out for a few minutes before I fall asleep around 11:00 p.m. or later.  Then I get up and do it all over again.  Yes, it's definitely a balancing act, but these days it feels more like a carnival ride.  So when I come to class and I am a little sluggish and tired or I have that deer in the headlight look on my face or I'm on the verge of tears, please cut me a little slack, I'm balancing this life I have to the best of my ability.  It's not always easy, but I'm here because I want to be here.  I train because I love jiu jitsu.  It's as simple as that.  So what do you do to find the right balance? 


  1. I'm in the same "technical" boat, but for a somewhat different reason, mine being that I'm really small... lol, so I also must try to perfect my techniques since I'm not typically able to overwhelm anyone with my strength/size. But it's not all bad, since when you get into competition against someone who's similar to you in weight/size/age/etc. it really makes you feel sorta beastly, well if only for a moment haha.

    I'm a 22-yearold recent college grad, so my balancing act is much less hectic. However, since I started training BJJ in college, I got super spoiled, training whenever I wanted, bc of course class was secondary to training... :-) But now that I've graduated and entered the working world, I'm now learning the struggle with time/energy that comes along with it...ugh.

    Great blog! :-)

  2. Your schedule resonates with me as a working mom of two kids. Sometimes I feel like I'm just running to the next activity. That's why it's so important that we train or do something else like that for ourselves. When I am on the mat, Jiu jitsu helps me remember that I am ME, not Mom or Sweetie, or Chauffeur. Yay!