Monday, June 11, 2012

"I could not do what you do"

That's what my (very patient) cousin who gets all my jiu jitu updates told me tonight.

Was it because of the pain? The sweat? The feet? The crotchly proximity? Nope. It's the emotional vulnerability and constant threat of public failure. It's the reason I was two seconds from breaking down in tears on the mats tonight. She gets my frustrations because she can be just as hard-driving with herself as I am. When I told her that as I was getting frustrated, people noticed and started helping in various ways, she knew exactly what I meant when I said that that's hard for me...appreciated, but hard. She knew why a word of encouragement in a moment like that could draw tears.

We were doing takedowns. I have...serious issues with them. I was beyond thankful I was with Mr. Rebarforligaments because I require patience and a gentle hand when it comes to anything that involves transitioning between standing and...not standing. Part of it is because I don't compete...which means even though we do drill them in class, I'd be doing a lot more if I were out there vying for medals. The other part is just that this is one of those things I have physical issues with...kinda like standing guard passes used to be. Actually, I think the last time I almost broke down was a standing guard pass years back.

I think the core of it though, is that they leave me feeling incompetent...they leave me with the reminder that, no matter how much I improve my physical state, my sense of self is pretty solidly set in stone at this point (as I believe it should be)...basically, I don't think I'll ever see myself as competent in the world of athletics. That is a lot for me to accept. I think most people prefer to stick to worlds where they feel generally competent.

That really hit me at the Ginastica Natural seminar yesterday (that's a vid of our head instructor). Alvaro Romano came in to lead it and it's really turned the way I'm looking at training on its head. While I used to dread (DREAD) 10 min warmups, I now go once a week for an hour long class of something very similar (thanks to a year of prodding from Fiona and LadyBug). I'm still nervous before I go...I still get sick at the thought just as I did with PE a kid, but that's fading. I'd done 3 or so classes with GinasticaInstructor before the seminar, so I wasn't completely lost. I didn't do well, but I didn't injure anyone else either. I could see progress in that short a time and I left...dare I say...even a little proud of my progress. Still though, seeing how different I am now than I was when I started AND still feeling like the physically awkward slow kid, I realized that there is only so much of your identity you can shake. That was finally nailed home when I was talking to one of the brown belts after class, and he made a comment about training healthy people like me and him. The fact that he'd my name, his and "health" in the same sentence took me aback just a bit...I almost didn't understand what he was trying to say.

...I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It's one of those things that just is...because feeling athletic isn't what drives me to learn jiu jitsu...neither is feeling unathletic. I just want to learn the art...unfortunately for me, takedowns are part of the deal. 


Anonymous said...

Slideyfoot got me searching "feldenkrais method" and "moshe feldenkrais" a couple of posts ago.

fascinating man him. judoka (knew jigoro kano, plus apparently wrote the early 20th century French standard work on groundwork in judo (yup, that groundwork)) physicist, antifascist and developer of a concept, on how to change oneselve's body-image, or body-knowledge. And by that one's self-image and one's perception of abilities and accomplishments.

seems, that "judo groundwork" and changing one's self-image is pretty back to the roots in feldenkrais terms.

so what i want to say is: i think your right, i think, you can be more than 'a little' proud of your progress.

there is apparently a whole method build around on how to overcome old body-image-damages and i think, it's a huge one of a challenge! our self-image is build in those 20, 30, 40 years, we already life in our bodies and them bodies, they matter.

Reese said...

Hah I know this feeling well! I always have issues with feeling less athletically competent than other people, even though I've been playing sports my whole life. But I started to do more and more conditioning work, building up my endurance levels and the difference between when I first started and where I am now is huge. But I agree, doing BJJ is more about the art and less about the athleticism in most cases. At this point, I'm trying to find a balance between conditioning/general MMA training and the art of jiut jitsu.