A few days ago, I was talking to a guy I've known for a while. We were having a very pleasant conversation and it came up that I train BJJ. Next thing I know, he's telling me how bad he felt about having recently pushed his physically abusive girlfriend and how he now felt like "one of those guys". I've never...ever had a man openly admit to any physical violence against a woman and I know 100% that the reason he felt comfortable telling me that was that in finding out that I trained jiu jitsu, he knew that I was, at some level, comfortable with aggression. It was risky on his part and I could see how uncomfortable he was unburdening himself. We then got into a discussion about female violence against men, how to deal with physically violent women and how they differ from violent men. Talking to him, I could tell that the general situation of dealing with a violent woman was, while less physically threatening for him, much more confusing and difficult to negotiate than dealing with a violent man.
I left my private yesterday floating on a cloud of jiu-jitsuness. It was a great close to the best 36 hrs of jiu jitsu I've had since I started training.
Thursday night I had dinner at the house of one of my pastors with his wife and daughter. It turns out that he's really into MMA and has been wanting to take some BJJ classes. Talking about it with other people, especially men, is always something that gets me paying close attention to reactions and responses. We talked more and I mentioned where I train. "You train at Top Team???" (I didn't know it was referred to as just "Top Team") I laughed and told him that when I started I had no clue about affiliations or MMA and just knew that everybody was nice and all the coaches on the website were smiling.
Friday class...also great! I had two good rolls, one ending with a white belt telling me I'd gotten better and a blue telling me that it was a good roll. I left, totally hyped and ready for my lesson the next day.
I've gotten into a good rhythm with WrestlerInstructor for our lessons. We generally start with questions I have, move to issues I'm working on, general technique/principles, then rolling. Issue-wise I focused issues around defenses I'd learned that weren't working well for me. Both the triangle and armbar defense I know involve posturing up, which works fine for me on people under...180lbs or so. Any bigger than that and I'm not likely able to get the proper stacking angle, and even if I do, I'm WHIPPED afterward. All that arm yanking burns my arm muscles, even with my ear to the leg and elbow to the sky. So...I got a new triangle defense that capitalizes on my leg length and strength and arm bars...well...I might need to work on stronger back muscles. That, and I need to put more pressure and focus on really breaking down their hold on the arm.
Principle wise, we talked a lot about half guard and I'm starting to look at top half COMPLETELY differently. I'd been focusing so much on getting a full pummel that I'd been spending long periods of time stuck, negotiating the position. I had no idea that you could work with a simple post in the arm pit as an option. Between that and working on knee position as an agent in controlling the hips and the top is a whole new world for me. The rolling was great. I was actually doing well to start off, WestlerInstructor saying I was "moving fantastically, Fantastically". Mid way through, I lost my balance and dropped to my hip. I instantly knew it was wrong. It was so clear I could almost hear it. It sounded like a crack. Immediately after falling, I ended up in his guard. It was a great few moments though, because it was the first time I really felt the connection between my weight and an opponent's...my balance in relation to their movement.
I think I'm coming off one of those improvement periods where, after months of things just feeling completely and utterly wonrg, things comes together and you see overall improvement. JazzHands once told me they come around every six months or so. Whatever the schedule, I'm savoring this moment, because I know another valley is likely around the corner and I'm going to need some fuel to get me through it.