Friday, October 7, 2011

Looking for the Light

Right now I'm in a jiu jitsu valley of sorts.  It's very dark and scary here.  I don't like it here but I feel powerless to leave.  Maybe sometimes we need to stay in that dark place for a little while to make us appreciate the light when we finally get there.  The stress of the last few weeks caught up with me last Thursday, and after a particularly brutal roll, I had an emotional breakdown of epic proportions.  It left me questioning my jiu jitsu skills.  It left me frustrated and upset and angry.  Sometimes as women we get stuck rolling with other women (or girls) that if we were guys of the same size and weight, they would never roll us together (that's my opinion, but I don't think I've ever seen the heaviest guy at the gym rolling with the lightest, smallest guy at the gym).  A lot of you women out there can't relate to what I'm saying (or maybe you can but in reverse).  I'm a heavyweight in the women's jiu jitsu world.  My game is slower, more methodical.  It's my style and it works for me.  One day I may be lighter and faster, but for now I'm not; I've got to work with what the good lord gave me.  Plus, my emotions were very raw that day and there's nothing like nearly getting choked unconscious to make you completely and utterly lose all sense of safety and security...and you feel the waterworks coming and then there's that point of no return and you have to leave the mat and go cry your eyes out in the dressing room because you absolutely refuse to let the boys (and girls) see you cry.  Then you're mad at yourself for letting your emotions get the better of you and you're mad at the instructors for making you roll with a kid 32 years younger than yourself...heck, I was just plain mad.  More than that though, I'm a lot sad and trying to regain my composure.  None of it changes how I feel about jiu jitsu, it just forces me to take a step back and evaluate what I'm doing and what I need to do differently. 

I had more than one day this week where I could have trained, but I let that little voice in my head talk me out of it.  Sometimes I give in to the dark side.  Sometimes I listen to that little voice telling me that I can't or I shouldn't or you'll never be able to.  Sometimes I don't have the strength to fight back.  I know that this is only temporary.  I know that I will find the strength to quiet the little voice (or as my friend says, KILL IT!).  I will live to train another day and very soon this jiu jitsu valley that I'm in will be a distant memory.  But man oh man, when you're there, it can suck the life right out of you.  I'm finding that sometimes I need a little break to take stock of just how far I've come.  Heck, when I first started 16 months ago I didn't even have the flexibility to execute a simple armbar.  Now I don't even think twice about it.  I probably won't armbar you, because you know how much I hate them, I will choke you instead, but it's nice to know that I could if I wanted to!!  I guess we'd all like to think that our path to jiu jitsu black belt is a straight line from point A to point B.  In reality, it's full of so many loops and curves and dips along the way that we can't even see point A or point B.  So, I'm going to try and enjoy the journey more, not sweat the small stuff along the way and worry less about those things that are out of my control.  I've come a long way and I have an infinite amount of beautiful jiu jitsu left to learn.  That is what keeps me coming back for more...beautiful jiu will be mine one day!!


  1. Keep going Debra, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon! xxx

  2. I, too, find that the days I'm prone to breaking down on the mats are days when I was close to breaking down off the mat first. Some days the mats help make it all better; some days, they contribute the last straw.

    Keep on rolling :)

  3. Thanks for being honest and vulnerable. We BJJ ladies need this blog, Debra. Please keep sharing! I am glad that I can read your blog AND go visit you at your house to talk about this stuff! Lucky me, neener neener!!!

  4. Here is absolutely the best thing about being a white belt: Never needing to apologize for sucking. :) When a white belt apologizes to me for sucking I say "No apologies - you're a white belt, you're SUPPOSED to suck."

    Sometimes as women we get stuck rolling with other women (or girls) that if we were guys of the same size and weight, they would never roll us together (that's my opinion, but I don't think I've ever seen the heaviest guy at the gym rolling with the lightest, smallest guy at the gym).
    Yep, I seem to either get put with the guy who weighs about 20 lbs more but is about a foot taller, or with a gal who I am at least 30 lbs heavier than. Sigh.

    Re: crying. Yep, been there, done that. I had to get off the mats because a training partner pissed me off so much. He kept going SO HARD SO HARD SO HARD and I kept telling him to stop but he wouldn't/couldn't. Finally I emotionally freaked out because he was flailing his feet around and I was worried I was going to get yet another black eye. I angrily stopped the roll and went in the back, shut the door and cried. Grrr.

    Life is tough for the slower ladies! As a slower lady, I KNOW IT! :)

    Thanks for putting it out there for us. I think you'll find you're not the only one who feels these things. :)

  5. Thanks for all the encouragement ladies. I'm so glad that I have women all over the world who will share in my experiences, offer their advice and help "make it all better" when the going gets a little tough. I will definitely keep on rolling. Nothing is gonna stop this little old lady!! :D