Building Confident Kids


I saw this quote earlier this week and instantly agreed. I have two sons, Drew, a 10-year-old, and Jackson, a 7-year-old. They both have been doing Jiu-jitsu for four months now.

Neither one of them has been into the more conventional sports so I can’t compare to that. They did however show interest in martial arts and had previously gone what I like to refer to as a McDojo. There is probably nicer terminology to use, but I like McDojo. It’s a fun word.

“Burgers, fries, and a black belt to go…”

It was the type of place where skill didn’t matter. Little focus was put on technique, everyone passed the tests. If people couldn’t break their boards they got smaller ones or switched to an easier technique. Everything was so watered down that there was very little there to actually challenge the kids. The belts they received every two months weren’t earned beyond showing up to class two times a week and putting in the bare minimum of effort. And, the minimum was pretty low. I’ve said it a thousand times, those belts, to me, were nothing more than participation awards.

They also put a pretty big emphasis on how doing classes there will boost your child’s confidence and mold them into respectful and disciplined role models filled to the brim with good character traits.

My oldest son went to this place for 2-1/2 years and “earned” his black belt in…


Hold up. Wait.

You know, I honestly couldn’t tell you what his black belt is in. It’s questionable enough that he had “earned” a black belt at age 10 but even more questionable when we don’t even know what type of martial arts it is. Who cares if you are a whatever degree black belt when you can’t even tell me what form of martial arts it is.

Tae Kwon Do?
(I’ve heard the instructors call it both.)

Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner.


Before Drew got his black belt we asked him several times, “What does that belt mean to you?” He never could answer the question apart from, “I don’t know.” This kid loves to talk and give his opinion. We don’t see him shy away from the opportunity to speak very often. “I don’t know.” isn’t a phrase he uses often. He had to write an essay for his black belt testing and he ended up just basically putting what he thought he was suppose to say. He didn’t have a clue of what that belt meant to him because it didn’t mean anything to him.

This Tuesday morning over breakfast we were talking about how Jiu-jitsu class had gone the night before. Somewhere in there Drew said to me, in reference to the McDojo, “I know now why there are so many people that go to that place and why so many get their black belts.” I raised my eyebrows and looked at him with my what-in-the-world-are-you-about-to-say face.

“It’s because it’s not special. It’s easy. Everyone and anyone can do it.”

Wise words from a 10-year-old.

This would also explain why he uses his black belt to hang toys off the balcony in our home.

That belt has no value to him. He didn’t earn it and he knows it. That’s not an easy conclusion for a 10-year-old to come to. I’m proud of him for questioning the value of it and recognizing that. Especially when you have adults telling you that it should mean everything to you. That your black belt journey will change your life.

Yeah. No. At least not with that kind of black belt.

In that same breakfast conversation he went on to say, “I’m glad we are doing Jiu jitsu. It is hard and not everyone can do it. It IS special. I like it better because of that. It makes me feel like a…” He paused before asking, “Can I say a cuss word?”

“Um, no.” I said sternly. “You can tell me the first letter of the word and I can figure it out from there.”

“A bad ‘A’”

In other words, in a not so cuss-wordy way, we can see the confidence changing and this inner strength growing in both our kids.


Earlier this week my husband and I had a conversation about the changes we were seeing, most of them really coming to the forefront this last week. How much better they are getting along. How they are being so respectful to each other and to us. How much better they were handling our advice or constructive criticism. How Drew’s attitude has changed quite dramatically and how he isn’t angering as quickly as usual. That was a feat that I thought was impossible. Especially as we are entering into the tween years.

At the McDojo we had moments here and there where we thought maybe Drew and Jackson were building some good character traits out of it. Now I can see that it was just a mask. They would have mat talks every class with the kids about being respectful, using manners, what discipline means, working hard, and whatnot. However, nothing they ever did there developed that kind of behavior.

If you want a kid to be respectful, to know what discipline is, do you tell him to be respectful or tell him to be disciplined. Or, do you show him, challenge him, and test him to build the character that produces those traits like respect and discipline?

I’m sure it will take you about two seconds to figure out that puzzler.

I think it is so important for kids to experience both success and failure. I seriously hate this whole “participation award” culture we are living in. It is poison to our kids and their future. Think of the message it sends to kids when everyone wins and there is no failing.

That it’s impossible to fail in life.
That every attempt will equal success.
That everything is easy.
That if you put in mediocre work you will be rewarded.
Why work hard when you don’t have to?

Maybe it makes me a mean mommy but I want my kids to know and understand what failing feels like. I want them to be challenged and succeed and challenged and fail. That, my friends, is what builds strong character and strong kids. It’s hard to sit there and watch your kid fail but it’s going to be much harder to deal with a kid that thinks that everything should just be handed to them. I think we are starting to see the fruits of that kind of parenting with so many people these days that walk around with an entitled attitude.

Kids need to know what it feels like to work really hard and win.
Kids need to know what it feels like to work really hard and lose.

BJJ is great for that. On Monday I watched both of my boys fight for their lives and get the submission. And, then a few minutes later I saw them fight for their lives and get tapped.

Putting the winning and losing aside, what I saw beyond that was awesome.

I saw in victory that they are learning to show respect to their opponent. I have kids that if they win something, they will victory dance their hearts out. Humility was not something they practiced. You can tell though that they are starting to understand that it sucks to lose and that they have lost enough to know what that feels like. There is no denying the happiness they feel with they get a submission. They usually have pretty big smiles on their faces when that happens. What I see changing is that they are getting so much better about being happy with the win and being able to sympathize with the other person at the same time.

I saw that they are getting much better at accepting the losses without anger or feeling defeated. Drew really, really struggled with this at the beginning and still does here and there. He hates losing. Hates it. He would get tapped and get so mad that I could almost see the steam coming out of his ears. He’s really come a long way with this. He’s not over that hump yet, but he’s getting so, so much better. We are trying to emphasize with both of them that every tap, every loss is a learning opportunity. I think they are starting to have a better understanding of that now.


On Monday when Drew tapped to a choke he smiled and told the other boy, “That was a really good choke. There was no way I was getting out of it!” A few months ago, he never would have said that.

And then, through all of this, when they have failed, they got up and tried, tried again.

They didn’t fail and then want to give up. Failing wasn’t the end. They failed, dug deeper, and found the will to try again and work harder. They let that failure fuel the motivation to put in more effort, to not make the same mistakes, to persevere.

If this is what they are learning and developing in just four months, I can’t wait to see what happens in the future as they continue on in Jiu-jitsu. I have no doubts that it is developing them into the best version of themselves that they can be.

I think signing them up for Jiu-jitsu was one of the best decisions we have made as parents.

Just Ask

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This week I am closing in on one of my biggest work deadlines of the year. Since I’m typically a last-minuter, or procrastinator for you fancy, big word folk, this means I spend the last week before the deadline working every second I can squeeze in. It’s pretty stupid that I do this because I know that this deadline will be here every year. I have a whole year to prepare and I end up leaving it all down to the last few months. I guess you could say that I like to live dangerously like that.

To say that I am stressed right now is an understatement and I was afraid that this stress was going to set the tone for class for me.

Stress is not my friend. He’s an asshole. He makes me frustrate quicker. He makes me feel overwhelmed and tense. He gets in my head and makes me doubt myself. He just puts me in an all around crappy mood.

However, I should have learned by now that this stress guy is no match for BJJ.

BJJ is like a super hero that saves the day and strangles out the stress. Jiu-jitsu did just that for me last night. I left class with a smile on my face, excited about life, and what I had just learned.

I rolled with new people! Yay!

That is becoming easier and easier for me to do. I love how each person I roll with teaches me something different. I rolled with two brown belts and I feel like I walked away from those experiences with so much new information.

I used to get really envious of my husband when I was in that phase where I wasn’t really rolling with anyone else. Everyone he rolled with would help him with something new. Something he was struggling with or kept getting stuck in or how to not get caught in a certain submission and sometimes an escape to that submission once he’s caught in it.

I could very clearly see that if I didn’t start rolling with other people my knowledge, the good and lasting knowledge you gain from experience, full speed rolling, and interacting with higher ranks, was going to be very limited.

Rollin’ is where it’s at. Fo sho.

I also, for the first time, asked someone to roll. Now, I feel it’s important to be honest here. It was kind of set up in advance so it wasn’t a full force act of courage. But, it got me so much closer. I had been told that this guy would roll with me but the catch was that I had to ask him. That made it a little easier. No less terrifying, but easier.

I asked. He said yes. I survived. Look. at. that. I survived.

It felt like a big victory. Especially after how much I learned from him. I’m so glad that he made me ask, that he pushed me to get out of my comfort zone.

I left class on such a BJJ high.

The next challenge I’m giving myself is to ask someone, someone that hasn’t been prearranged, to roll. No more waiting for things to happen or waiting for people to ask me. I need to go out there and make it happen myself. Insane courage for 20 seconds, that’s all I need. I can do this.

You are brave, Allison. You are brave.

Shut Down Town


Photo credit: A great Facebook page that I love to follow White Belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Yesterday was a rough one. It was one of those days were I just didn’t feel like I could do anything right. I would get one part down and forget a different detail. Then I would get that detail down only to forget another. I felt like I fumbled my way through the whole class.

My usual go-to for handling situations were I get uncomfortable and embarrassed is to shut down and escape if possible. Because, you know (incoming sarcasm), running away and avoiding things is the perfect solution to a problem.

I’m getting a lot better at not escaping. I still kind of do the shut down thing though. I sink back into my little hard-headed, protective shell. The smile goes away. I quit talking, I quit drilling, and I have an internal pity party. I just give up and let myself think, for a brief moment, that it’s impossible. It’s not a part of me that I’m proud of.

I made a little visit to this shut down place yesterday.

We were working on guillotine chokes and the instructor was walking me through it step by step. He was at the part about throwing my leg over the back when my husband slipped his head out of the choke. I felt so incredibly stupid and embarrassed in that moment. I was already struggling and fumbling through class, feeling like I couldn’t keep my head above the water.

I’m not saying my husband was wrong for doing that. I don’t want to have a partner that just gives me everything. How can I expect to learn if they let me do it sloppy or wrong each time? If the choke isn’t working I get that I need to know how to make it work.

No one is going to give you a free choke. You have to take it. Earn it.

But, in that moment, that was my breaking point. After struggling through the whole class, it just felt like another thing pointing straight at me saying, “You suck. Why are you here? Why do you think you can do this?”

I shut down. I felt so stupid. So embarrassed.

If there would have been a tiny, dark hole in that floor, I would have crawled into it and made it my home.

What kept me from completely shutting down were the 2-3 people that stayed right there with us throughout almost the class and helped us go through the details. I kept waiting for them to get annoyed with me as we drilled everything over and over and over again. Especially when I kept screwing it up over and over and over again. It never happened. They stayed right there with us. I could tell that they simply wanted to make us better.

It made me think, “They aren’t giving up on me, why should I give up on me?”

I may suck. I may suck for a really, really long time. This probably won’t be the last time I get frustrated and shut down. But, I am making a promise to myself that I will not escape. I will not give up. I can and will do this.

Your best teacher is your last mistake


I am convinced that at least 50% of BJJ is trying to figure out where the bruises came from.

It just isn’t a normal morning after class if I don’t find or, in some cases, feel a new bruise. My son Drew caught a glimpse of my triceps bruises the other day and responded with, “Whoa, Mom! What happened!?”

Jiu-jitsu happened, son. Jiu-jitsu.

He then asked if he could count them. I stood there in our kitchen with my arms up as he followed along each one with his finger to count. “1-2-3-4-5-6…” The magic number? Eighteen. Eighteen bruises on just my arms.

Most of the bruises I don’t even notice. Whatever caused them couldn’t have been that bad because usually I can’t even figure out what exactly caused them or when they happened.

And then there are the ones that you know exactly what caused them.

Right now the biggest and most painful bruise I have is my chest. My whole chest. From neck to boobs. That’s what happens when you get smashed and crushed every time you roll. I didn’t even really notice the bruise, I just noticed how anything touching my chest felt like a horse putting all of it’s weight on me and made me want to scream a bunch of offensive words.

Tuesday in class we were doing a drill and when my husband put just a tiny amount of pressure on my chest I couldn’t believe how much it hurt. It felt like a giant rock sitting on my chest.

Wait. Let me get off course for a second.

I feel like, at this moment, my husband would want me to mention the possibility that it could be me just being a wimp and that I just can’t handle the pressure of his rock hard pecs. I’ll let you decided on which you think it is.

Back to what I was saying before.

I thought I wasn’t going be able to roll because of how little pressure I could take. That was a silly thought. Of course I rolled anyway.

Would you believe me if I told you that the bruise helped me? I got really, really good at keeping people from crushing me because of that bruise. It got me to remember to not go flat on my back. It got me to react and shrimp out faster. It got me to post out to relieve the pressure. It got me to work harder to not end up on the bottom. It helped me in so many ways.

They say, “Your best teacher is your last mistake.”

The mistakes that led to that bruise and that pain ended up being an amazing teacher for me. When something hurts, when you really, really don’t want something to happen, you’ll work that much harder to keep it from happening again.

I’m thankful for that bruise and that pain that came with it.

Choose Courage

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The Tuesday class was so good I had to break it up into two posts!

One of my biggest hurdles has been rolling with other people. I’ve gotten over the uncomfortableness of it, I just haven’t gotten over the hump of putting myself out there to ask other people. Which means I don’t usually roll with a lot of different people.

It’s the fear of rejection that gets me. I’m an overweight 35-year-old mother of two. I’m so afraid that at any moment I’m going to have someone tell me I don’t belong there. I’m afraid that no one is going to take me seriously. I’m afraid they will feel like I’m wasting their time. I’m afraid that I will be able to see it on their face that they don’t want to partner with me. There isn’t a single person that has done anything in anyway to make me feel that way. That’s just the inner workings of an extremely shy, socially awkward person.

We are a fun bunch, us socially awkward head cases.

While I didn’t ask other people to roll, I did have a lot of people ask me to roll. I jumped at every opportunity. I feel like it upped my comfort level with other people tremendously and that it put me so much closer to breaking through that struggle.

I will get there. I was going to say “baby steps” but honestly I think I just need to dig deep, muster up 20 seconds of insane courage, and just do it.

I also had a lot of people reach out to me, introduce themselves to me, sit by me on the wall and talk jiu-jitsu with me. That was a great feeling. A feeling of belonging. A feeling of maybe these guys are starting to see that I’m showing up consistently and not quitting.

One of the guys I rolled with was a newer white belt. For three months I’ve had everyone dominate, smash, and submit me like I was a rag doll. It was happening so often and with everyone that I rolled with that it was hard to see any improvements in myself. I mean I know that I have improved since that first class but it was hard to gauge how much when you always roll with someone better and stronger than you.

I got my first taste of what it was like to dominate someone. Not gonna lie, it felt good. He was a little smaller than my husband but still a big guy. When I got the first look at him I thought to myself, “Here we go. I’m about to get smashed.”

Nope. Didn’t happen.

I needed that. It was nice to see where I had improved and how much I had improved. I kind of surprised myself. I talked about the same thing yesterday. How I went from a woman that couldn’t do anything, that would have been screwed in an attack situation to a women that put the guy in a screwed situation.

That was the most empowering feeling, ever. That his size and strength didn’t always matter. That I could use technique, what little I might have, to keep a man from attacking me. And, I could attack him and he couldn’t escape it.

I think me and BJJ, we are going to be great friends.

You Always Remember your first


It took:
2 months,
3 weeks,
1 day,
and approximately 20 hours
to get my first legit submission.

Not that I’m keeping track or anything.

I wasn’t even concerned with getting a submission just yet. I was working so hard to survive that I hadn’t yet even found the opportunities to go for a submission. I was just focusing on escaping and getting to a better position.

Isn’t that how the saying goes? “Position before submission.”

I figured that first submission was going to be way down the road. And, I was okay with that. I wasn’t in a rush to get it. I didn’t feel like I needed to get one just yet.


When that foot just happened to be tucked into my arm pit and my arm was clasped around it I remembered the ankle locks we had worked on for the last two weeks. I was right there. Every thing was set up perfectly and the victim, my husband, didn’t even see it coming. I think his exact words were:

“Oh shit! Shit!”

Foot to the hip. Shoulder to the floor. Hip forward. Tap. Bam. My first submission.

I’m not going to lie. It felt pretty awesome. I was trying not to be too celebratory about it but it was impossible to wipe the smile off my face.

In three months I went from a woman that couldn’t defend herself, a woman that couldn’t escape from a man, to a woman that made a 6 foot, 230 lb. man tap because he couldn’t escape me.

How freakin’ badass is that!?

To me that is mind-blowing. And, I don’t mean that in an egotistical way. I mean that in a how awesome is jiu-jitsu way. That in just three months with jiu-jitsu a woman can make that happen. The crazy part is that the man attacking me even knew jiu-jitsu and couldn’t escape. Think about what could happen if the man attacking me didn’t know jiu-jitsu.

It makes me excited to think about what can happen in six months. Nine months. A year. For a lack of better words, BJJ is the shit!

No Delicate Flowers Here

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Hands down, favorite line of class last night:

Mike (my husband): I don’t want to hurt her.

Brett (the instructor): Are you at dinner? Is this a date? No. This is jiu-jitsu.

This has been one of the biggest problems I face as a woman in a man’s sport. For three years I’ve dealt with men that freak out if they punch me in the face or if a kick connects a little harder than they expected. I’ve spent so much time saying, “It’s okay, it’s okay. I’m fine.” that sometimes I automatically say it now before they even have a chance to start in with the, “Oh shit! I’m sorry.” bit.

Countless times last night I ended up in uncomfortable and painful situations. Welcome to BJJ. My husband stopped several times because he was afraid he was going to hurt me. Not once did I say stop or I can’t take this. I had to keep saying “Just keep going, I’m fine!”

Don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate that men worry about that. I am very grateful that my husband doesn’t want to hurt me and is a little uneasy at the thought of it. We live in a world where if a man physically hits a women he’s a giant, flaming piece of poo. I am on board with that. I think men who beat on women are scum.

I get where this can be a little confusing for men when you are set up to spar, roll, or drill with a woman. You, as a man, have been taught that it’s not okay to hit or harm a woman. So, why should it be any different in class?

Because, I signed up for it.

I knew what I was getting into. I love fighting. I love MMA. I love jiu-jitsu. If we watch TV at home, the majority of it is spent watching MMA. Here’s the crazy part. Not once, did I ever confuse it with knitting.

I knew exactly what I was signing up for when I walked in those doors three years ago and took my first martial arts class. I knew when I started jiu-jitsu three months ago that it wasn’t going to be a leisurely stroll in the park. Chokes aren’t like hugs from your Grandma. I am aware of that.

Us women, we are a lot tougher than a lot of you guys give us credit for. Do I need to remind you of UFC 196? Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate and Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz. Both Holly and Conor got caught in a rear naked choke. Who tapped and who went out fighting until the very end?

Girls are tough too, boys. Please, I beg you, don’t make me play the “we give birth” card. Mm-kay?

I’m not saying that just because we want to prove that we are tough too that men should just wail on women and beat the crap out of them. There is an obvious strength difference that no one can deny. I also get that a lot of men just won’t be comfortable with causing pain on a woman. But, that doesn’t mean you should treat us like a delicate flower. Most likely, if we are there, we aren’t the delicate flower type.

Just don’t take it easy on us. I get really frustrated being in situations were someone takes it easy on me just because I’m a woman.

Push me. Challenge me. Let me decide if it’s too much or too hard or too painful.

I might surprise you.


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I’ve got one hell of a mountain to climb.

I think realizing and accepting that is necessary if I expect to succeed. I am getting a lot better at accepting that. In BJJ speak, accepting that I am a nail and I’m going to be a nail for a long, long time.

I got smashed hard today. I got submitted in so many different ways I couldn’t even begin to tell you what half of them were.

The hardest reality I got hit with today was that I am the lowest (wo)man on the totem pole. Fo sho. I am the person that white belts roll with to boost their egos. They get smashed by the upper belts and then come to me to feel better about themselves.

That’s a tough pill to swallow.

I understand it. I used to do that with sparring at the martial arts place we used to go to. If I was frustrated and in a rut I had a few select higher ranks that I knew I could beat. I would spar with them to make me feel better. It works. It may not be the honorable way to build confidence but it works.

I rolled. I got frustrated. Really frustrated. I shed a few tears as I sat on the wall after it was over.

Yesterday, I watched the movie “A League of Their Own” and as I sat on the wall wiping away a tear about to break over the brim, I thought of that famous line that we all know, “There’s no crying is baseball!”

I bet that goes for BJJ too.

At least that’s what I told myself in an effort to make the tears stop. It worked. It’s hard enough being the girl, I don’t want to be known as the girl that cries.

Today being the nail lit a fire in me. The frustration motivated me. I got smashed so hard by hammers that I finally said to myself, I can’t wait for the day that I get to smash them back and I am going to work my ass off to make that happen. I will make that happen.

You know, the thing about making it to the top of the mountain is you can’t just leap to the top. There is no easy route, no smooth road, no fast track. I see it as using determination as the fuel for each step you take. There are so many steps that you couldn’t possibly count them all and there are moments that you think you’ll never make it. You dig deep and find that determination, that fuel. Then one day you realize that little by little those steps of determination led to a lot.

I am determined.

I’ve got one hell of a mountain to climb.

I Heart BJJ


I had to lay down the law of discipline with myself after getting really frustrated on Tuesday. I only rolled once, gave up, and went home. On the drive home I was pissed at myself for giving up so easily.

Dammit, Allison!

The new rule is that I’m not allowing myself to leave until the clock reaches 8:30. I would set the time even later and stay longer but if my kids don’t get enough sleep they turn into little monsters that make me want to go hide in a dark closet and question my life choices.

Sometimes I exaggerate.

If I’m frustrated or wanting to give up, well, I’m going to have to learn to say to myself, “tough shit.” Suck it up, princess. Giving up is never, ever going to take me down the path of success. Ever. The best thing I can do is keep going, keep trying.

Show up. Work hard. Tap. Learn. Tap. Learn. Ask questions. Tap. Tap. Tap again. Learn some more.

Last night, I stayed until 8:30. I had moments of frustration and then I had moments of awesome. Had I left after the moments of frustration, I wouldn’t have had the moments of awesome.

My favorite thing about last night was realizing that you take away a little something from everyone. Each person I partnered with or talked to last night taught me something. Taught me a lot, actually.

It’s funny how looking in on BJJ from the outside, it seems like a sport that is more of an individual thing. What people don’t know is that there is more to it than that. There is very much a team atmosphere too.

And, as far as I’m concerned, a team of some of the toughest, bad ass-i-est (I like to make words up), genuine, and nicest individuals on the planet.

I heart SFC.

And, BJJ.

Also, pizza.

Good Advice



I had a small dilemma with what word to use there to accurately portray my frustration. I was afraid “aargh” was going to be too pirate-y but I seriously can’t stand the word/expression “ugh.” It has to be the ugliest word in the English language. For me it’s right up there with “moist” and “panties.” I do not like those words.

Goodness, I can ramble sometimes.

I hoping that anyone that does BJJ can relate to that frustration and it’s not just me. Surely I’m not the only person in the world to struggle with this. I would share more detail but really it’s the same problem I keep having.


Getting in my head.

Doubting myself.

Getting scared of putting myself out there.


I’m going to rewind back to Monday because I had something really awesome happen to me in class.

A lot of times when everyone is rolling, I’m sitting on the wall. I get nervous. If I don’t have someone to roll with I kind of get this rejected, alone feeling. The thought of approaching someone and asking them to roll terrifies me. I end up sitting there by myself kind of freaking out.

I always see it as I’m new, I’m a girl, my husband takes the class with me, I’m not good at putting myself out there. Probably not a lot of guys are going to reach out to me. I’m okay with that and I understand it.

Monday, I’m sitting there watching everyone roll when a guy comes over and sits down next to me. After the initial small talk, the conversation moved on to jiu-jitsu. He recommended that I start a journal where I break down the moves in my own words and to do it after every class. He explained why it worked for him and how it helped with retaining a lot of the information.

After that he started giving me some tips. He talked about posture and how important it is. My favorite was how, as the class was rolling, he would point out little details that a brown belt was doing and why it was working or he would point out something a blue belt was doing and why it wasn’t working. At one point he yelled out to someone to posture up and the second they did, they escaped what they were being held in.

This was the first time that a guy, other than an instructor, reached out to me in class and helped me.

It was awesome.

It was a great feeling to have someone take me seriously and to try and help me. It really meant a lot to me. After that round of rolling was over he stood up, gave me a hand slap, a fist bump and said, “Just keep coming to class. In a year, two years all of this will start to come together and you’ll do great. Just keep coming to class.”

Last night was frustrating but I’m going to take the advice I got on Monday and just keep coming to class.