Thank you

I now know that great things can happen by simply owning your fears and admitting to the world, “I am scared.” That in itself can be a terrifying step to take.

I saw a great quote on Instagram from Caio Terra that fit yesterday so well:

“The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great.

We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves.”

Yesterday when I said, “I’m scared.” Here is what I heard in return:

“You are brave and you will do this.”

“If your safety net isn’t there, you’ll fall a little farther, land a bit harder, get up, dust yourself off, and get back at it.”

“You are strong and deserving so don’t be afraid..”

“Show them what you alone are capable of!”

“You’ve got this girl.”

“…You feel like Wonder Woman. A little beat up, sweaty, sore…but totally Wonder Woman. You got this!!”

“I imagine the regret of not doing it would far outweigh taking the leap and going on your own.”

“You are very brave.”

“Look behind you at the littered trail of broken molds and cleared hurdles.”

“You just have to force yourself to do it.”

“You must go.”

“You need to just go in there and do it.”

“Get yourself into class and feel foolish and fart and have victories.” (I laughed so hard at that one.)

I don’t know if I would have been able to conquer my fear without reading these words. I was terrified all day yesterday. The task in front of me consumed my thoughts all day. I was a mess. With each comment I read I found myself becoming even more nervous. Nervous because it had become clear that I HAD to do it. I was seeing so many people taking the time to say, “I believe in you.”

When we were kids “please” and “thank you” were deemed the magic words. I think we need to tell kids that “I believe in you” is magic. Because it really is. Cheesy as it sounds, that phrase, that feeling of having people believe in you, it makes you feel like you can accomplish anything. Like you have no choice but to at least give it a shot.

Last night was not easy.

In kickboxing, about 20 minutes into the class I rolled my ankle when I stepped back after a kick. It ended up not being too big of deal and I continued on with class, minus any kicking. Then about 30 minutes in I dropped the Thai pads at the wrong moment and took a hard kick right to face. To the freakin’ face. It honestly felt like the universe was telling me to go home. To give up. To go crawl in bed and hide under the covers.

I almost did. I almost cried out of frustration, my voice cracking when I said I was okay. I almost gave in to the embarrassment. I almost escaped. Hell, I almost ran out of there.

But, something changed when I took a few deep breaths and remembered that I had people that believed in me. I couldn’t let that go to waste. So when it felt like the universe was telling me to give up, I basically gave it the middle finger and continued on.

After kickboxing I walked up the stairs, put on my gi, and got on the mat. It sounds so simple. It wasn’t. Every step down those stairs and to the mat felt like it took every ounce of energy and willpower I had in me. I sat on the wall trying to figure out how in the world I was going to make it through this class alone.

“You are brave,” I said to myself.

Okay, it might have been more like: “YouarebraveYouarebraveYouarebraveYouarebraveOhshitOhshitOshitYouarebraveAllisonYouarebraveIcan’tdothisYouarebraveYouarebraveYouarebraveYouarebraveYouarecrazyYouarebraveYouarebraveYouarebrave…”

Everything went great. I had a partner that I had never partnered with. There was never a second of being uncomfortable with him. There were zero moments of anyone rejecting me. I had conversations with people left and right. I enjoyed drilling and felt like I was finally get the escape down. When I messed up I said, “Let me try that again.” When it was time to roll, I rolled with new people. I even asked people to roll. When I did have a small moment of feeling defeated, I told myself, “You got this!” I did not fart.

I took a leap without my safety net and survived. I even enjoyed it.

Yesterday showed me that my husband is not the only person who has my back. I realized yesterday that I have a lot of people that have my back. It might not be a “claim a fart for me,” kind of friendship, but I have a lot of people that will encourage me when I am struggling.

I’m always afraid that when people get to know the me, the fears that consume me, that they will laugh at me. That they will think I’m ridiculous for struggling with something that they don’t struggle with or understand, something that seems so simple. I fear that they will make me feel stupid for feeling that way.

Thank you for understanding that we all have our battles.

Thank you for knowing that what comes easy for you, might not for someone else.

Thank you for giving me strength to conquer my fears.

Thank you for having my back.

Thank you for believing in me.

Thank you for showing me that I AM braver than I once thought.

I am scared

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My husband is injured and can’t do BJJ for awhile. Like quite possibly a long while.

I feel like a selfish asshole because when I realized that he was hurt bad enough that he would have to sit out for a substantial amount of time, I was terrified for myself. I knew that I was going to be facing quite possibly one of the biggest hurdles I will face yet:

Leaping into the unknown without my safety net.

I spoke of it before. How growing up my sister was my safety net, the person who stood beside me and held my hand through my fears. When Mike and I got married, the torch was passed on. He became my safety net. I am a lot braver when I know that Mike is there. It’s easier to face my challenges when I know that there is someone there that has my back no matter what. I’m lucky that I have that because I know that I wouldn’t have accomplished half of the things that I have without him.

If I take a leap and mess up, I have my safety net to catch me.

If I feel like I look stupid, I have my safety net to say, “Don’t sweat it. I feel stupid too.”

If I get embarrassed, I have my safety net to look to for comfort and support.

If I feel defeated, I have my safety net to say, “You’re no quitter! You got this!”

If I accidentally farted really loud, I have my safety net to take the fall and say, “It was me!” Ok, he probably wouldn’t do that. But, he would laugh with me until we both cried and then he would assure me, “No one heard it.”

So tonight I have two options: To stay at home with my safety net or to take that leap and see what happens.

I have no idea what I will choose.

If I can do this, this will be, by far, the biggest step outside of my comfort zone that I have ever taken. On Tuesday, I chickened out. All day I told myself that I could do it but when the time came, I stood there after kickboxing with my gi in front of me and I couldn’t put it on. I felt like a loser when I walked out that door. It really sucks to know exactly what you should do, but you just can’t pull the trigger.

I want so badly to tell you that I AM brave. That I CAN do this. That I have confidence in myself and how far I have come. But, I don’t know if I could say those statements with much truth today.

I am scared. That is my truth today.

Always learning

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Hair by BJJ.

Hands down, best class I’ve had yet.

That was the most I’ve rolled in one class. Six, six minute rounds.

I had to fight the urge to crawl out to my car. My hair was soaked in sweat from root to tip and my body from head to toe. I could feel the lingering effects of a tight guillotine on my throat and neck. I was beat up, exhausted, and honestly, I have never felt better.

I learned that patience and persistence pays off. I got my second submission. Eventually I’ll stop counting these. It took me almost as long to get my second one as it did the first. I got my arm in there pretty tight for a guillotine but when I went to pull my left knee to his belly and my right leg over his spine, he move out of my reach. I moved. He moved. I moved. He moved. We just kept rotating in a little circle. I had my arm in there so tight that I didn’t want to give it up so I figured eventually he’s going to get tired of the neck pressure and give up. I have no idea if that is the right way to handle it but I felt like if I let go or loosened, he was just going to flatten me out. Persistence paid off. He tapped.

I learned a little about the truth behind the quote, “Keep your enemies close, and your elbows closer.” That needs to be permanently etched into my brain.

I learned that I need to be more aware of those escape moments. I’ve spent so much time getting smashed on the bottom and never having those moments of space that I just don’t capitalize on them to get up as much as I should. I need to be aware that when I do create those pockets of space or isolate someone’s movement that is the time to move, get out of there, and better my position.

I learned some super simple but effective ways to keep side control. I’ve gotten a lot better getting to side control but have really struggled with keeping it. I always get pulled back into half guard. I feel like now I’ve got a few things I can use to help prevent that.

I learned that every once in awhile I’ll get to roll with someone newer than me who I can dominate. There is a part of me that feels bad for doing that. Like what if this guy gets super discouraged and quits because he couldn’t defend himself against me. And then, I realize that quitters don’t do jiu-jitsu. If he is going to quit because of me, he was going to quit eventually anyway.

I learned that if I want to get comfortable with asking people to roll, I have to take out the personal detail of it. Before my biggest hurdle was the closeness, the very intimate closeness you get with jiu-jitsu. Now that isn’t even an issue anymore. It’s just jiu-jitsu. It’s just rolling. I don’t even think about it. I need to take away the personal element when asking someone to roll and just see it as a technicality of rolling. These aren’t people I don’t know, they are training partners and we are all there for the same thing, to get better at jiu-jitsu. That might have been the best lesson of the night. It was a definite ah-ha moment when it was said to me in that way.

I walked away, well, technically I kind of hobbled away, from this class feeling full of new knowledge, new confidence, and a new respect for the people I get to train with. I love how I can learn something completely different from each person. I rolled six, six minute rounds and I got six, six minute rounds of learning and improving.

I’m sitting here the next morning, my throat still sore from that guillotine, my body aching from everything it went through in those six rounds, and I can’t wait to do it all again.

Never Again

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I made a big mistake.

I had my husband in my guard and when he postured up I squeezed my legs until they were almost extended out straight. I sat up a little, grabbed his collar and pulled him down to me as I continued squeezing.

I’ve always hated my thick thighs, but let me tell you, those girls can put on the squeeze. I feel like maybe Suzanne Somers and her little thigh master would be pretty freakin’ intimidated by my thigh power.

“Ouch! Oh crap. Let up a little. That hurts.” he said.

My automatic response was to alleviate the pressure, to do as he asked so I wouldn’t hurt him. He’s had some pretty gnarly soreness going on in the area I was squeezing so I felt bad. He passed my guard after that and got me in an armbar. Again.

It wasn’t until the next day, (The next freakin’ day!), that it hit me like a slap in the face. It was so random in it’s arrival to my brain. Just a bam, “Why the hell did I let up!?” I stood up and walked around the room. A dumbfounded look on my face. My mouth open, my eyebrows turned down in frustration, my forehead crinkled in confusion.

“What is wrong with you, Allison!? Where is your inner savage!?”

He wasn’t risking injury. He wasn’t going to pass out. He wasn’t going to die. Why didn’t I keep squeezing and simply ask, “Are you tapping?”

Never again, Mike Davis. Never again. The only time I’m letting up on you is if I feel or hear that little BJJ signal that says I have defeated you. That glorious, “Tap. Tap.”

*Cue increasingly intense warrior-esque music

Never. Again.

Today I suck a little less.

 

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Yup. I still suck at jiu-jitsu. But, I suck a little less. I am creeping up on my 4-month jiu-jit-iversary and at this point it is fun to look back and see where I started and where I am now.

What a difference.

At the beginning it was basically, “I grip the what and do the what with what?” I felt so out of place in a foreign world of men, chokes, and armbars. I remember thinking to myself, “Allison, you are crazy if you think you will ever be able to do this.”

I still think I’m crazy, but I have those thoughts of doubting myself come by less and less everyday. There are still things that feel impossible but I know now, thanks to jiu-jitsu and the team at SFC, that with persistence, patience, and hard work, eventually I will have the tools and skills to make the seemingly impossible, possible.

I think about the beginning, that first time I rolled. How I couldn’t do anything. Anything. One little movement felt like it took all my energy and I was stuck there, flat on my back with nowhere to go. I really didn’t care about self defense, but jiu-jitsu forced me to to care about that. I remember thinking deeply about what that represented. What being trapped or being submitted would be in real life. Essentially, in self defense it meant broken arms, it meant death. It was an eye opening moment and I remember being absolutely terrified at the thought of it.

This is where I get a little frustrated with women who trust places that sell you self defense that doesn’t involve any kind of ground defense. Especially when we statistically know that most fights will end up on the ground.

Begin rant.

Women, you don’t understand how truly terrifying it really is until you are trapped under the full weight of a man. Educate yourselves. Ask your husband, boyfriend, or male friend to wrestle on the ground with you so you can understand. If you don’t know what to do, no matter his size, he will overpower you with his strength. You will have no where to go. You will be up shit creek without a paddle. If that thought doesn’t feel unsettling to you, you are insane.

Women, you also don’t understand how unbelievably empowering it is to be in a situation where you have the skills to keep a man from trapping you under his full weight. The skills to escape and survive. It is an amazing feeling. Nothing like it in the world.

I really wish more women did jiu-jitsu.

End rant.

Every class I feel like I build more confidence in my abilities to defend myself. Each day I feel like there would be a better chance of me breaking my attackers arm than vise versa. It feels good to be developing the tools that I might need if I was ever in that situation. We can’t ever prepare ourselves fully for those kind of things, but we can better the odds by bettering ourselves and our skills. It’s clear to me that jiu-jitsu is definitely the best option for that.

It would take way too long to go through all the differences that I can see and feel. Basically it all comes down to I really sucked at day one and today I suck less.

In the beginning I didn’t know any techniques. Today I’m about 10 seconds behind on applying the techniques I know. Tomorrow maybe I’ll be 9 seconds behind. Next week I’ll be 8 seconds behind. Next month I’ll be 7 seconds behind. And, one day I won’t be behind at all. One day it will be my turn to dominate.

Kicking my way to BJJ

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Had another great class last night. Those are starting to happen more often than not.

I noticed last night that kickboxing really helps me a lot with jiu-jitsu. I’ve always been really comfortable with kicking and boxing. A large part of that comes down to just having a general love for getting to kick and punch things. The other part comes from doing some sort of kicking or boxing types of training, in some form or another, for the last three years. Kickboxing is a little bit of a comfort zone for me.

Uh oh. There is that dreaded phrase. Comfort zone.

As much as comfort zones get a bad rap, I think in some situations they aren’t so bad. I think they can also help us too. At least I feel like it helps me.

With kickboxing I am at a place where I’m not freaking out about the techniques or getting in my head about mistakes. I am comfortable with the techniques, for the most part, and even when a new combination is thrown at me, I am comfortable and aware of how I learn. I understand and am comfortable with my abilities and am not afraid to push myself to exceed them. When I do have trouble getting comfortable with a new movement I am comfortable with asking questions and have confidence that I can, eventually, get it down.

I am in enough of a comfort zone in kickboxing to have fun with it while still trying to push myself at the same time. I always leave the class with a smile and little skip in my step. After beating the shit out of a heavy bag or Thai pads, I feel like I can conquer anything that is put in front of me.

Hello endorphins, my drug of choice.

On Tuesday and Thursday, since jiu-jitsu is right after kickboxing I start those classes with a positive attitude, ready to take on the challenges that come with jiu-jitsu. I’m in such an optimistic state that I glide easily over the things that might have tripped me up before. With that positive attitude, I don’t get in my head as much and find it easier to recognize my mistakes without feeling like a complete failure. When I’m not in my head as much I realize that just like I have a love for kicking and punching, I have a love for jiu-jitsu too.

Building confidence and kicking ass in my comfort zone (kickboxing) makes it easier for me to push myself out of my comfort zone to face new challenges (jiu-jitsu.)

So, now that I can recognize that, I’ve got to find a way to build up those endorphins for the Monday no-gi class. Instead of sitting there watching the kid’s class and getting more and more nervous for the adult class afterwards I need to find a way to tap into my inner badass before class starts.

Run around the block a few times?
Go shoot some things with a gun?
Drag race?
Beat up a kid?

I’m open to suggestions.

P.S. I really hope you picked up on the sarcasm in my last suggestion. I would never beat up kids selfishly for building my own self confidence. I only beat them up when they deserve it.

P.P.S. Please tell me you got that sarcasm this time? I shouldn’t have to keep pointing it out to you at this point. Sarcasm is my second language. Sometimes my first. I love kids.

Good Enough

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I am a fucking mess.

Sorry for the f-bomb. I felt like in order for you to really grasp my emotion in that statement, the f-word was crucial. It really gives it the kick in the pants I’m looking for.

My victory last night was becoming so frustrated with myself and how I handle things that it made me realize that I can’t ever give up if I want to fix that part of me.

I so desperately want to fix that part of me.

All my life I’ve only wanted to feel normal. To not be so hypersensitive. To not be so fucking in my head about every little thing. (There she is again. My trusty little emotion filled, hot pocket of a word.) I have spent my life knowing that I am way too hard on myself, but still, even knowing and recognizing that, always listening to that little voice in my head that says, “You’re not good enough.”

You’re not good enough.
You’re not good enough.
You’re not good enough.

After 35 years of listening to that voice, the one that lives in my head and the ones that put that thought there in the first place, I’m realizing that this will be my biggest hurdle. Advancing and getting stripes on my belt will be amazing, but I’m starting to see that overcoming my emotional trip-ups, that will be my biggest victory.

I’ve wanted to learn jiu-jitsu for awhile. I was mostly focused on the physical aspect of it. The ability to choke someone, break their arm, or dominate them. Simply put, I wanted to feel like a badass. However, now that I’m in it, I’m seeing just how valuable it really is. I can see that jiu-jitsu will be able to cure me of something that therapy never could. Well, on one condition…

I absolutely can not give up.

I am lucky to belong to a team of people that won’t let me give up. That call me out and tell me, in one way or another, to keep going. That remind me that I can do this when I start to feel like I can’t.

My victory last night might sound small to you, but to me it was huge.

It was simply continuing on. Staying. Not escaping when I really wanted to, when I got embarrassed. Not letting myself give in completely to those assholes in my head. Waking up this morning and telling myself, I may be a mess but…

I am fucking good enough.

Progress

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Class last night was awesome. It was also excellent. Marvelous. Wonderful. Fantastic. And, whatever else words you could find in the thesaurus under the word great.

I was little scared of class, to be honest. Monday didn’t go well for me and due to family and school events I haven’t been able to go to a gi class since last Tuesday. I have to be really careful about not missing class and being consistent with driving forward towards my goals. When I push myself out of my little safety bubble I have to do it almost everyday or I find myself sinking right back into my little comfort zone. After a week of stewing in my comfort, I had taken a few steps back. I was nervous.

Rolling went so well. I mean technically if you want to look at it from a win/lose stand point, I didn’t really win. But, from a learning angle/survival attempt, I did. I feel like some things are starting to come together. I’m seeing progress.

I rolled with several people that I had never rolled with. Some that I even asked myself. It almost surprised me how easy it was and how little it scared me to do so.

Progress.

I got to spend a lot of time on top and I feel like I’m getting so much better at pressure. I even made it to mount a couple of times.

Progress.

I actually got to attempt a few submissions while rolling with another white belt. I had a few armbars set up but never got to the finish. I was trying so hard to be patient. I put all my weight on the guy as I was setting it up. That’s been a thing that has tripped me up a little. I swear I’ve spent my life worried about my weight so I haven’t been too fond of the idea of exposing how much I weigh by sitting on someone.

That weight worry didn’t last long. Last night I said to myself, “Screw that, I want the armbar.”

So, I sat there with my full weight on the guy and squeezed tight. I took my time setting it up making sure that I had everything where it was suppose to be. It’s not often that I make it to that position so I didn’t want to rush and skip over an important detail. Everything felt tight but then I just couldn’t break the grip to extend the arm. I was close at one point. I had slowly worked my arm through and grabbed my collar. I was starting to raise up to extend his arm when he requested we move away from the wall. I was [this] close.

Progress.

I feel like there is a shift in my way of thinking. Maybe a better understanding of how to get out of dangerous situations. Just small things like seeing what someone is trying to do and figuring out what I need to do to stop it or which direction I need to move to avoid it. I don’t mean that I always do it, but I find myself thinking about those things.

Progress.

I got caught in a rear naked choke attempt. I fought it, got my chin tucked, and had a good grip on his arm so he couldn’t get it in all the way. He still cranked it pretty good. It hurt and for a moment I thought about tapping.

I didn’t.

I don’t want to tap in those moments where it’s just really uncomfortable. I understand that if an injury is possible, I should tap, and I will gladly do so to avoid the injury. But, I don’t want to give up when I can find ways to push past the uncomfortable. I’m glad I didn’t tap because I ended up getting out of the choke.

Progress.

It was a night of many small victories. A night were I could see some progress. I may have fleeting moments of feeling like this is impossible, but it’s nights like last night that tell me this IS possible. That I can do this.

Progress.

Yesterday was a failure. Today we learn from it.

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Me and my bravery buddy, Jackson.

I told myself that when I started this page that I would write after every single class. Today’s post ended up being a little more personal and a little less BJJ. Maybe it’s more than anyone who actually reads this stuff wants to know about us but I’m going to write it anyway.

Yesterday, I don’t know which was tougher, jiu-jitsu or parenting.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that both my youngest son and I have some major struggles with shyness and social situations. Yesterday was a rough one for him and in the process, me too. It was also his 8th birthday.

In the kids jiu-jitsu class they do a birthday “choke or throw.” The birthday boy/girl gets to stand front and center as each kid in the class comes forward and gets to decide if they want to choke or throw them. Both of my kids love this. The second they find out that it is someone’s birthday their faces light up with mischievous grins as they plot and plan what they might do. It’s such a fun moment for them.

I never really thought out how this would go when Jackson was on the receiving end of the choke or throw until the last week. Approaching this I could see that we kind have two hurdles for him. The actual choking and throwing and then the part about being in the spotlight. We had a few pep talks about it in the days leading up to his birthday but he has made so much progress and is doing so well that I really didn’t think it would be an issue.

I was wrong. It was.

The go-to for Jackson when he gets scared or embarrassed is escaping. He relies on pain/sickness/injury as an excuse. For years he would tell us he had a stomach ache and for years I was terrified that he actually did have a stomach ache, but I couldn’t believe him because he had used it for an excuse to escape for so long. That’s kind of a scary situation when you can’t tell if he really is hurt or if he’s just embarrassed. I’m terrified that one day he is going to be hurt and I won’t believe him.

Yesterday it was a headache, and we could clearly see that it was his escaping plan for the day. He cried almost the whole class. He held his forehead, rubbed his eyes, and winced in pain as if it was the worst headache in the history of headaches.

I was stuck between two totally different points of view.

On one side I know exactly how he feels. I feel the exact same way all the time. It’s awful. All you can think is “I can’t do this, I have to get out of here.” It dominates your thoughts so much that you start to panic. Eventually in that panic you have forgotten what it is that you are scared of and have focused solely on getting out. You don’t want to cry in front of everyone because that will only bring more attention to you but you have so much anxiety and fear running through you that you can’t help it.

The part of me that has been there, that understands this part of him like no one else in this world ever will, wanted so badly to run over to him, scoop him up, comfort him, and let him escape. It’s one thing if you think your kid is just being a brat, it’s a whole other when you understand the deep struggle he is going through. It’s not easy to watch.

Then, on the other side, I know that escaping and letting him give into his fears is never going to help him learn how to deal with this. I know that the best thing we can do is not let him escape, let him see that what he is so scared of isn’t going to be scary at all or at least not as bad as he thinks it’s going to be. Each time we have moments like this where he is scared but faces his fears, the challenge of it and the realization that it wasn’t that bad always builds his confidence. Each step towards his fears results in a more courageous and confident kid. And, we can see it each time.

I like to think that I’m a good parent with the best intentions for my kids, but I didn’t feel like that yesterday. Stuck in between those two points of view resulted in me stuck in my panic and anxiety mode which in turn makes me pretty selfish.

Eventually, the more he cried, the more I got embarrassed. The more I got embarrassed the more I wanted to escape. The more I wanted to escape the more I got frustrated with him. That kid relies on me to be his bravery buddy. The one who helps him get through these situations. I couldn’t help him because I was getting stuck in my own head.

I feel like failed him.

Emotional/mental handicaps are rough. People with depression, anxiety, social fears, shyness, etc. they don’t have a clear issue that you can physically see. You don’t understand why they can’t do certain things that might be easy for other people. It’s not like a broken leg that is visible. We are broken on the inside. So, while we look completely normal on the outside, inside we are a mess. We fight wars in our head almost everyday that most people in our lives will never know about.

By the time his class was over I was mentally fried. I fought a war in my head for my son and then I fought a war in my head for myself. I feel like I lost both.

When it came time for the adult jiu-jitsu class all I wanted to do was escape. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t retain any information. I couldn’t do a single step without getting frustrated at myself. On top of that I was getting frustrated with myself for getting upset that my son wanted to escape and I was doing the exact same thing. I made him face his fears (and he loved the birthday choke and throw) and I couldn’t do it myself.

Talk about being a hypocrite.

I don’t ever want my son and I to rely on our issues as excuses not to do things. I don’t want us to live a life barricaded in our heads because of silly made up fears that we think we can’t get past. I don’t ever want anyone else to take it easy on us or give us special treatment because we are scared.

I want us to learn to be brave in every step we take. To face our fears with courage and confidence. I refuse to give up on either one of us and I know that we are capable of overcoming our fears. One day we will look back and ask ourselves, “What were we so afraid of?”

I can’t change how we both handled our fears on a day that has passed. Yesterday was a failure. Today we learn from it so that it doesn’t happen that way again.

Live-in Training Partner

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There are some funny things that come up when you are a couple that trains jiu-jitsu together. It really changes everything.

Hugs aren’t just normal hugs anymore. They become a battle of underhooks.

Saturday morning cuddles include armbars.

You never turn your back to your spouse because you will get choked.

If you are pissed/annoyed at the other you get to go to class and roll with them. Instant satisfaction. Screw let’s talk it out. My vote is we choke it out.

And, most conversations we have lead us to talking about BJJ.

It’s like having a live-in training partner. It’s awesome.

I discovered last night that the best part is that we have someone at home that can relate to the frustrations and struggles.

Surprise, surprise, I got frustrated last night.

For three months I have pretty much solely worked from the bottom. The bottom was my home. In each round of rolling I spent 7 minutes trying to survive and keep myself from being smashed, crushed, and submitted on the bottom.

Just when I feel like I’m getting something down the BJJ gods laughed at me and said, “Silly, silly, stupid girl. We aren’t going to let you get comfortable. It’s time to figure out what to do on top.”

Well, shit.

It’s like a whole new level of I don’t know what to do. I feel like I am getting better at side control and pressure but there is so much that I forget about. It just not something I’ve been able to work on much in rolling so I feel really uncomfortable and like I miss opportunities everywhere.

I missed lots of opportunities from the top last night and felt so stupid and embarrassed the second I realized it.

I left class thinking, “This is impossible” and questioning myself and if I can do this. I go through this thought process often but giving up is never a permanent consideration. It’s like the normal girl side of my brain is saying, “This is crazy! Are you sure you want to do this.” Then my insane, don’t-tell-me-girls-can’t-do-it side says, “Of course I do.”

I love that side of my brain. She’s a little rebellious spark plug.

Last night I stood there in our kitchen, frustrated and upset, and I confessed to my husband, “Sometimes this feels impossible.” And he said, “I know. Sometimes, I feel that way too.”

Everything was instantly better with that simple phrase. We are in this together. We are not alone in our white belt struggles and frustrations. We can give each other pep talks when the other is having trouble. We can remind each other that while it might feel impossible from time to time, that struggle is what is going to make it feel so amazing when we do have those successes.

We got this!