Game Plan.

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Three days. Three short days to go.

I’ve read about so many different approaches to competition matches. Some have sworn by having a game plan and others are more go with the flow. I’m trying to find a balance in between there. Having a game plan, but being prepared for having that game plan go in the shitter. I’ve got my comfort areas, the positions I feel like I work best in, and I’ve worked on different paths to get me to those areas.

I’m such a planner, an organizer, a list maker, or sure, we can call it “OCD” if you want to get all technical about it. I like having a plan. A plan makes me feel warm and fuzzy and like everything is right in the strange world of Allison. I’ve just got to make sure that I can deviate from that plan when needed without freaking out.

Right now, I feel really good. The last few classes I’ve been able to use these paths and get to my comfort area in rolling a lot. Even squeaked out some submissions. I’ve actually gotten more submissions this week than I have in my whole BJJ life. As much as I wish it did, I know this doesn’t equal me walking in there and destroying the competition. However, it does give me the confidence I need to walk in there without peeing my pants and second guessing why I’m doing this.

Second guessing and succumbing to fears are not in my game plan.

While I can’t always control the physical game plan in these matches, I can control the game plan in myself. Such a big part of competition isn’t at all about what it looks like at face value. I know that now. It’s so, so much more. I signed up for this, more than any other reason, to conquer myself.

Putting myself out there. Working harder. Looking my challenges in the face and saying I can defeat you. Getting better at every opportunity that I can. Not backing down to my fears. Building self confidence. Improving and drilling the techniques I need to over and over. Working on becoming my best physical self. Not giving up. Breaking down my shyness walls. Building up my arsenal of fundamentals. Learning how to shut out negative thoughts. Letting go of perception worries. Handling stress better. Losing without letting it defeat me.

If I can go in there and work my hardest and not give up, then I have followed the most important piece of my game plan. I will defeat the old Allison and walk away a new person, a better person, a stronger person.

I’m ready.

Show Up.

Four days!

The nerves are still there, but I’m starting to get really excited. I am focused on positive self talk, trusting that I am learning from some of the best in the area (whoop, whoop SFC!), and realizing that win or lose, I’ve already won some really big challenges in the process of getting ready for competition. Hell, just signing up was a win for me in terms of fears and such. I’m really excited to see how this all plays out.

I’m ready. I’m ready to get in there and see what I can do.

Last night was a great night, a great class. So much of it was a big reminder of where I started and how much I’ve changed since that first class.

What therapy couldn’t accomplish, BJJ did. For my whole life I’ve had to have a person to hide behind to shield me from the things that scare me. When I was a kid it was hiding behind my mom. When I got older it was hiding behind my sister. When I got married it was hiding behind my husband.

Today, I don’t need to hide behind anyone.

A few days ago my husband was talking about possibly not being able to make it to class and I think he was waiting for me to protest or get upset that I couldn’t do class because he wouldn’t be there. That’s been our norm for 12 years.

“It’s okay. I don’t need you anymore,” I said.

I sat there in shock because I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth. I love my husband very much and I love doing class together, but it is so nice to be able to go to class without needing him there. Not only that, but also to be able to go in alone and not even be scared of it. Not even a little bit.

BJJ has totally changed my life already and I’m just seven months in.

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Last night, my partner was struggling with some of the things we were working on. She’s been doing BJJ for a few months and I think she was starting to get frustrated at her progression.  Brett, the instructor, gave her a great straight-forward, dose of reality pep talk. I sat there thinking as he was talking to her, oh man, do I know what she is going through. It was like reliving my first six months. I was constantly in my head about my progression and how it compared to others. Shit, I still get in my head about that from time to time, I’m just better about not letting it defeat me.

I was sitting there with her remembering being in that exact same place. Frustrated that I couldn’t do something, annoyed that other people around me could do it, and embarrassed that I sucked. I don’t know how many times I thought so many things were impossible.

It’s no secret here that front shoulder rolls were the thorn in my side. They were my impossible mountain to climb. I hated them. I sucked at them. I was embarrassed and I didn’t want to do them. Anything that involved me going ass-up in front of a room of people was my nightmare.

And, now my favorite sequence involves a front shoulder roll. Funny how that whole not giving up thing works.

After Brett gave his talk and went to help someone else, I tried to tell her (in a nutshell) that I’ve been in that exact moment she was in. Just a week or two ago I couldn’t do things that I can do today. That it’s hard to not compare yourself to those around you, and that each of us has our own unique challenges to face. That she can do this and what is important is to keep showing up, keep trying.

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It was so weird to be on the other end of that conversation. To be the one encouraging and supporting. To be the one that has been there and understands. I’ve spent so much time on the receiving end of those pep talks, being the one that had to be picked up, that I never thought a day would come that the tables would be turned.

I really hope she keeps coming back and honestly, I think she will. I think she’s a lot tougher than people give her credit for and I know if she keeps at it, one day she’s going to surprise a lot of people, even herself, with how far she has come.

I know this because I’ve been there. I know what happens when you don’t give up. When you keep moving forward. You find out that the things that were once impossible ARE possible. That one day it just clicks. One day you realize that you are capable of far more than you ever thought you could be.

BJJ has a pretty painful amazing way of show you that. All you have to do is show up, work, and keep coming back.

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Keeping the Red Socks Away

Tomorrow marks one week until competition. One. Freakin’. Week.

These days I’m silently chanting, “You are crazy!” over and over in my head. There are so many “what if…” scenarios that I think about and a constant questioning of if I can do this and should I do this. I mean, I’m doing it and that’s final. There is no backing out. I just question my sanity a little.

This whole getting out of your comfort zone isn’t for the weak, that I am sure of.

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Up until this point I’ve only done little baby leaps outside of my cozy, well lit comfort zone. I can make those small leaps and still be standing close enough to comfort to see the light nearby. This competition is like a pole vault out there into the dark abyss where the light from my comfort zone is barely recognizable. A tiny little pin point in a wall of darkness. Who knows what could be lurking out in the unknown? I’ve been told that good things hide out there, but it sure is a scary place to hang around and find out.

I have never seen myself as mentally strong, but this whole experience is showing me that I might be stronger in that area than I ever thought possible.

Might. MIGHT.

I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself just yet. I’ll retrace my steps back to that comment and reassess after the competition.

Right now, my biggest headache and setback is simple: Me. I seem to have this whole doubting myself and my abilities down to an art. I tend to let that negative self-talk take over. What is really frustrating about it is that when I focus on the positive I feel great. I feel ready and excited. I am optimistic about the improvements I’ve made. I feel confident in the work I have put in. I feel like I could go into this competition and do great. All it takes is one little seed of self-doubt and that positive voice in my head gets quieter and quieter until I can no longer hear it.

I listened to a Joe Rogan podcast a couple of weeks ago that featured a “mind coach” named Vinny Shoreman. He used a great example of negative self-talk and how it can impact us. He compared it to doing laundry, specifically washing a load of whites. The whites represent all the positive aspects of your training and your mindset. You have put in the work, your diet is right, you are on point for weight, you feel confident in your abilities and training, you feel ready. And then, you put in one red sock. The red sock represents a negative thought. That one red sock in your laundry turns all the whites pink. That one negative thought seeps into and effects every positive thought.

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You could also use a crayon in the dryer analogy here. Never fails, always happens when the laundry load contains one of my favorite shirts.

Last night, all it took for me was one little red sock of doubt and it completely changed everything. I didn’t perform well in rolling. I was letting myself get too frustrated. I let my shyness creep back in and I didn’t ask other people to roll. I told myself that I was stupid for ever thinking that I could do this. I told myself that I sucked, that I was the suckiest of all white belts. I imagined everyone looking at me and saying, “There is no way she can do this. She’s a joke.”

One little bit of doubt in one little moment of defeat and I let it ruin all that positive energy and confidence I had built up.

My focus the next week is to work on building up my positive self talk. To stop doubting myself. Putting my focusing on what may go right, instead of what may go wrong. Not letting frustration take over and instead seeing defeat in class as opportunities to get better, to become stronger, and more knowledgeable. To keep trying, working hard, and not giving up. To believe in myself and my abilities.  To throw away all of my red socks.

First step: replacing that silent chant of “You are crazy!” that plays in my head with “I can do this.”

I will close with some fun, positive, and encouraging memes. Because fun.

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I can do this. 🙂

If You Judge Me…

I sometimes wonder if people doubt me and judge me because of my gender, my age, my shyness, or my body type. This has always been a hard internal battle for me, worrying about how others perceive me.

However…

The beauty of this whole getting older thing and inheriting some confidence through BJJ is that I am learning and adapting to the ideology of having no f*cks to give about how people perceive me.

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This is the level 0f no f*cks to give that I am striving to be. It’s good to have goals to work towards.

I still have a lot of work to do in this area though.

But, here’s how I see it:

If you judge me because of my gender, you are an asshole.

I grew up with a dad that taught me that anything boys can do, girls can do too. Not once did he ever scoff at the idea of me wanting to race cars or climb trees or go fishing or play in the dirt. He taught me that any challenge in front of me had nothing to do with me being a girl and everything to do with how hard I was willing to work for it. That sometimes, because I am a girl, I might have to work harder to prove myself, but that anything was within my reach if I don’t give up.

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If you judge me because of my age, you are an asshole.

I get that 36 isn’t ancient yet, but in the minds of young pups I’m knocking on the doors of nursing home detainment and wearing Depends.

I like the philosophy that you are only as old as you feel because honestly, I don’t feel old. I also like the philosophy that you are never too old to change your life, try something new, or challenge yourself.

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This guy is badass.

My mom and my aunt spent the majority of their adult lives teaching and when the time came to retire they ventured into a whole new career and opened a retail store. They knew nothing about running a business. That was 12 years ago and today they run one of the most successful stores in our industry in the whole freakin’ world. Seriously, we ship to countries I didn’t even know existed. My sister and I owe our careers (and so much more) to two women that didn’t let age define their direction in life.

Age is just a number.

We older ones may be a little slower and whole lot achier, but we can still show up, put in the effort, and do our best.

If you judge me because of my shyness, you are an asshole.

My shyness and social fears have been the biggest thorn in my side for my whole life. I fight internal battles with it every single day.

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This sums up so much of my life.

Sometime after I turned 30 I was fed up. I was tired of letting certain circumstances control my outcome and decided that I could make the choices to move forward in a different direction. I made a choice to work on bettering myself in anyway I could.

I learned that the best way to overcome these challenges was to put myself out there and to get out of my comfort zone. I learned that I could survive embarrassment. I could survive talking to people. I could survive my fears and become a better person because of it. Some days my shyness gets the best of me, some days I get in my head so much that I can’t breathe, but I am on a constant quest to get better.

The good that has come out of all this shyness crap is that it has helped me to understand that we have no idea what someone has been through, what unique challenges they have faced or are currently facing in their lives.

I once had someone make fun of me and put me down to my face when they got me confused with another person. I sat out of an event because of my shyness and this person basically told me how stupid and laughable it was thinking that it was another girl.

Nope.

It was me.

Not gonna lie. I didn’t do a very good job of not giving a f*ck about that one. It hurt.

If you judge me because of my body type, you are an asshole.

This one is pretty simple. It’s that whole why would you make fun of someone that is overweight at the gym. They are obviously trying to better themselves. We should all get behind and support someone that does that.

The same person that made fun of me to my face about shyness also, in that same conversation, made fun of my weight while again confusing me with the other girl. It didn’t matter which one of us was being made fun of because we were both roughly the same size. (Which blows my mind that they didn’t think about that!)

I think people that say shitty things about overweight people who are in a gym trying to lose the weight are the assholiest of all the assholes.

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I’ve lost 50 lbs so far. I still have another 25 to go. I may not be in the best shape but I am working towards it everyday. It’s been an incredibly slow process whether it be because of my age or medical reasons, but I will never give up on reaching my goal weight.

So, I get that none of us are perfect and that we all can be judgemental. In some cases it’s hard not to be. I get it, we are human. I fully admit to being a sarcastic asshole 90% of the time.

But, what I am saying is that my ultimate goal and what is important to me is to never make fun of, judge, or doubt someone who is putting themselves out there and trying.

Boy or girl, young or old, shy or outgoing, fat or thin, and everything in between all of those. If you are trying, if you are working hard, and if you are putting yourself out there, good for you.

That is something that I do give a f*ck about.

Pressure

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I tend to put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself. The majority of the time I even know that I’m doing this, that it’s ridiculous, but that realization doesn’t always stop me from piling on the pressure.

When I’m in class, I put the pressure of being a woman, of being 36-years-old, of being most likely the weakest person in the class on myself. Most of the time it works in my favor. Pushing me to work harder so that I never let those circumstances define me and my abilities.

And, then for the last six days there is the pressure of getting ready for a competition while trying to take care of an injury.

This one is a bitch to navigate.

So the injury is kind of weird, different from my other armbar injury. With this one, I can put full pressure on it and I have full mobility with zero pain while in use. I can roll hard, I can drill over and over, but the second I stop there comes the pain. It radiates out from my elbow/mid-arm to my shoulder blade and down to my wrist. It’s been fairly unpredictable too. On Sunday I drilled a ton, got in lots of rolling, and the pain was minimal. Last night, in between each set of drilling my arm was screaming, then it was fine when I was rolling, and then afterwards on the drive home I was in tears. (And, I’m not a pain cryer. Never have been. Not even the time in my childhood that I lost most the skin on my upper leg and arm after a nasty bike wreck on a shifty patch of gravel.)

I have a hard time finding that balance of doing what I can and not doing too much. It’s been extremely frustrating to feel like I can’t push as hard as I want too. As hard as I should be doing right now. It makes me question myself.

“Am I doing enough?”

“Am I going to push too hard and make it worse?”

“Am I just being too weak?”

It’s made the last week of classes really frustrating. It doesn’t feel like I’m making the injury worse at all. In fact I feel improvement in it most days. But, so many times I’ve ended up sitting there in tears from the pain, frustrated that I feel like I can’t do more or not knowing if I should do more, and wondering if I stop working am I just using the pain as an excuse. I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself because it.

What a mental debacle it is.

To look on the bright side, at least if it still hurts come competition day, I can still compete and give it my all. I’m just going to pay for it afterwards.

I’m okay with that.

While we are looking on the bright side, the extreme nervousness I was feeling when I signed up to compete is starting to transform into excitement. I can feel myself improving and I’ve never been this focused on making progress.

I have zero expectations for this competition. It’s my first and I just want to experience it without being disappointed because I had some crazy expectation going in. I mean, I know what I would love for the outcome to be and I know what I will fight for it to be, but I also know that there is more to it than just winning. There are other victories to be had.

In the process of all of this it’s really making me aware of how much I love BJJ. I mean love, love, LOVE it. It consumes my thoughts. I am training six days a week and I look forward to each day, to equipping my brain and body with more fun tools to use.

This whole competition thing has been great for getting me to put all my attention on getting better. It’s changed my attitude, it’s helped me to put my shyness aside further than I have ever been able to before, and it’s made me work harder. If I lose every match, I don’t care. I’ve still already won so much just by going through this process so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next two weeks bring. What an experience it’s been so far!

Uncoordinated

I remember the exact moment that I realized I was uncoordinated. There is actual video evidence of it too. Unfortunately I can’t share it here with you because I’m old. VHS old.

VHS has to be one of the best ways to protect those embarrassing home videos. Who needs a password for protection on high tech devices when you have to deal with rewinding and fast forwarding and adjusting the tracking and oh, I don’t know, FINDING AN ACTUAL VCR TO PLAY THEM IN…

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Visual reference for the younger generation that doesn’t know the struggle of what I’m talking about.

My uncomfortable and awkward years captured on camera are safely protected and hidden in the lands of 80s-90s technology.

So, back in the ancient VHS times, my mom, with a camcorder that was probably the size of large dog, recorded my sister and I putting on a collection of our favorite Saturday Night Live skits. We were in the middle of our best Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri impersonations as the Spartan Cheerleaders when it dawned on me that I can not make my body do things in two separate directions.

It looked like such a simple dance move. Your feet are pointing in one direction as you slightly squat down. One hand is front of the face and the other hand is at the back of your head. Then you jump, switch your stance to the other direction, and then switch the front hand to the back of your head as the back hand comes to the front. You can do jazz hands to really spice it up. Like this:

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As I attempted to do this next to my sister, who is fully coordinated by the way, I knew I was failing miserably and her perfection of the moves were making me look even worse. She looked over at me and laughed. Not a giggle. Not a snicker. A WTF-are-you-doing hearty laughter. I don’t know exactly what she was thinking in that moment but I bet it was something along the lines of  “What is wrong with you!? Should I be concerned? Are you having a seizure? How are we related?” 

Needless to say I nailed my imitation of Molly Shannon as Mary Catherine Gallagher. I had the uncoordinated superstar down to an art.

You are probably wondering where this going. What does this have to do with BJJ?

Because this explains why I struggle with certain movements in BJJ. Forward rolls and backward rolls, specifically. If I am in a situation where I have to make one part of my body go here, and the other part of my body go there, it takes me forever to wrap my brain around that kind of body conundrum. My brain says, “Nope, we all go here or we all go there,” and if you try to tell it otherwise I end up in some contorted, body confusion that leaves nearby onlookers saying, “What the fuck is she doing!? What is wrong with her!? Is she having a seizure!?”

From day one, rolls have been my number one nightmare in BJJ. It confuses my body immensely to turn my head to one direction while I roll over the opposite shoulder, away from my head. It sounds so simple but my brain turns it into the most perplexing situation.

My brain: “No, no, no. Listen, Allison. Your head is here, that’s where we are going. Don’t argue with me. Just do it as I say.”

Last night, we worked on transitioning from a head snap to guillotine and then, via a forward roll, into a crucifix. It’s pointless for me to tell you that I struggled with it. Unless you just skimmed over the last 600 words, you get that the subject of this post is that I am uncoordinated.

But. BUT, I finally started getting the concept after many, many explanations and demonstrations and even someone pulling and pushing my body into the right angle. Eventually, it actually started to feel right and I stopped killing my neck and head in the process. The last three or four felt really, really good and solidified this being one of my top three favorite sequences to get a submission. I so desperately want to get the opportunity to do this in live rolling.

I would like to think that this will be the end of my uncoordinated rolls but this is just the first base camp of my rolling Everest climb. Last night we got right side forward rolls under control. Now we’ve got to tackle left side forward rolls and both sides of back rolls to reach that summit. One down, three to go.

The victory for me last night and the good thing about BJJ (and really this applies to anything) is that if you just keep trying, eventually you can do it.

Even us uncoordinated ones.

The Push

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We have entered the zone where I have to push myself further than I have before. Constantly finding ways to dig deep and test myself physically and mentally.

You think you’re tired? Roll again.

Oh, you really think you’re tired now? Roll again.

You think you can’t do another round? Roll again.

I rolled more rounds last night than I ever have and with very little off time in between rounds. And, I have to keep that pace for the next few weeks.

Push harder than I did yesterday. That is the path I’m on.

Preparing for this competition is really making me notice where I’m lacking. Reaction time and pushing past the tired is an area I need to work on.

In competition, when your opponent gets to certain positions, they score points. However, it’s not immediate. They have to hold that position for three seconds before the points are awarded. This means if you can react immediately in a sticky situation, you can possibly keep them from scoring those points.

It’s harder than it sounds.

Three seconds is not a lot of time. It feels even less when you are tired and trying to fight someone. You really, really have to start running on mental power at that point. This is going to be where I’m going to have to push myself the most. If someone has me in a dominate position it usually takes me a few seconds to gather my thoughts, access the situation, sometimes I’m just exhausted and need to get a few breaths in and then start my escape. There is no time for that anymore. It has to be an immediate response if I want to keep them from scoring those points.

I’ve got to push harder.

Team SFC

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I love Springfield Fight Club.

I know I say that a lot here. Trust me, I say it even more in person. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say, “I love that place!” to my husband.  It’s become our home away from home and our favorite place to be.

Part of it is due to being totally drunk on love for BJJ, but there is so much more to it than that.

I used to think belonging to a community was great, and it is, but I had no idea how awesome it was to belong to a team until we walked in that door at SFC.

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For months I’ve taken classes where the main focus of the class was around the fighters and getting them ready for their next fight. I’ve always enjoyed hearing before class that we are working on this to get them ready for that. There’s just always been this certain cool factor to being a part of that even if it was just simply sharing the mat with these people. (Especially for someone who is a big MMA fan.)

A lot of us, our presence is more of a supportive role. Some don’t get to train one on one with these competitors when they are getting ready for battle, but I am positive that every single person in that place would in a heart beat if it was asked of them. Without hesitation. Only with excitement and enthusiasm. If you want to get better, there is always someone that will step in and help whether it’s with knowledge, with encouragement, or with challenge.

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I thought my role on the team was just always going to be on the supportive end. And, I’m not complaining about that. I love that role. I am 100% SFC proud and excited to watch these fighters do what they do. They are inspiring and have so much potential for doing great things. It’s an amazing atmosphere to be in and I will always support that and everyone at SFC.

This last week, much to my surprise, my role on the team shifted.

On Sunday, the class is typically smaller so a lot of times it feels more like a private lesson. I was asked earlier in the week what I felt I needed to work on the most and we would focus on that. It was so awesome to have that kind of support and I left feeling much, much better about some of the holes I have in my techniques.

The support didn’t end there.

When the no-gi class started last night it was mentioned that we are a team and when someone on that team is going to compete, we use class as time to prepare them.

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My role went from supportive to center. The whole class was tailored to what I needed to work on for competition. I never thought it would be like that. Not because of any reason to do with SFC. These fighters I’ve watched prepare and that we have focused on are young and on the brink of having amazing careers ahead of them. Of course we need to prepare them.

And then, here I am. An old ass mom who is probably going to get her ass handed to her in competition. Why would anyone feel like the class needed to focus on preparing someone who will probably go no further than a few competitions?

Because, we are a team. That’s why. That’s what SFC is to the very core. They get behind every single person there when they need it.

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Anyone in the Springfield area, if you aren’t training at SFC you really are missing out on something amazing.

 

Be Scared. Do it Anyway.

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A little pre-class brother stare down.

Both of my boys have been back and forth on competing. One day they want to do it, the next day they have already changed their minds.

Sometime in the last week or so, our youngest, Jackson said he was positive he didn’t want to compete and that he would do the next one that came along. I haven’t really been pressuring him to do it too much. He’s made so much progress with his shyness and fears and I was afraid that pushing too much and him having a really bad experience with it could be a set back. I just haven’t been sure what approach to take with him.

On Friday, after BJJ class, we got home and Drew suddenly said he didn’t want to do it. I tend to push Drew a little more. Sometimes he can get a little lazy and with a little push he accomplishes a lot more than he realized he could. He’s got so much potential, he just doesn’t really have the drive. I think competing could be really great for motivating him to work harder.

I sat down and just asked Drew to be real with me, “Why don’t you want to compete?”

“Because I’m scared that I’m not good enough.

Because I’m scared that I won’t know what to do.

Because I’m scared of people watching me.

Because I’m scared of losing.

I’m just scared.”

This is when being a BJJ family pays off. We can all relate to what the other is going through. As parents, it’s the perfect opportunity to lead by example.

*Warning: Incoming Mom pep-talk. This is not a verbatim account of what I said. I can barely remember where I put my keys most days. Not a chance in hell that I could remember word for word what I said. The following is more of a summary of the important points.

I told Drew that I was scared of the exact same things and I told him that it was okay to be scared. That something would probably be wrong with us if we weren’t scared and every single person there competing is going to be nervous too. I told him that since I clicked that button to finalize my registration, my stomach has been a mess of knots and butterflies, but I’m not going to let that stop me. I told him that we need to be scared and do it anyway. We need to be brave and go for it.

I told him that not only does he have us as his family there to support him, he has his team at Springfield Fight Club to support him as well. That no one will be disappointed in him and that everyone will be proud of him for getting out there.

I told him that if we lose, we lose. No big deal. The important part is that we tried, we put ourselves out there, we tried something new, and we challenged ourselves. That if we lose we can always learn a lesson from it. And, if we do lose we can treat ourselves to some Five Guys and Andy’s frozen custard to celebrate our efforts.

I look over at Drew waiting to hear what his response is when I hear a quiet voice from behind me, “Okay. I’ll do it.” I had no idea Jackson was listening the whole time. Of course, Drew being the competitive one he is, couldn’t let his little brother show him up. “I’ll do it too.”

I explained that once they were registered there would be no more backing out and that no matter how scared they got, they were just going to have to fight through it. But, that we would all fight through it together.

I’m so excited, and still slightly terrified, that we are doing this together. Now if we could just get Mike healed and on board it would be a full family event!

Courage by Defiance

Courage by defiance. That’s what I’m going to call it.

Maybe it was an attempt at some reverse psychology, knowing how defiant I can be and using that to get me to go for it. Maybe the intent wasn’t to be mean or hurtful. Maybe the intent was really just out of concern and caring. Maybe. I don’t really care either way.

Either way, when someone told me that they thought I shouldn’t because they thought I couldn’t handle it, I did this:

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 10.44.13 PM

Kiss my ass.

Now, not only am I competing for the first time I have the added bonus of proving you wrong. Proving that I can handle it.

It was a weird day, yesterday. It’s funny how the universe can throw things at you sometimes. How at almost the exact moment someone was telling me that they didn’t believe in me, I got the best comment on Facebook.

“Just a small thought to leave you with. There are several little girls in the kids class and I know one in particular who thinks it’s “really awesome” you’re doing jiu jitsu to improve yourself and was stoked when I mentioned you might be doing the same tournament she is competing in!”

I know from previous experience that courage by defiance doesn’t always last long. It’s like an adrenaline rush and sometimes, if you start letting the rational side of your brain take over instead of running on the rebellious spirit boiling inside of you, it can go away as quick as it came. That brain of yours will talk you out of what could potentially be the best moments of your life if you don’t embrace the craziness of courage by defiance and act on things immediately.

I may not be an expert on these matters but I feel like I do have a pretty solid background in this field. I, much to my mother’s dismay, was a difficult teenager and defiance should have been my middle name.

As I sat there filling out the online registration, the “kiss my ass” fuel was running on low, the reality of what I was about to do set in, and my courage started to slip away. I started questioning myself and letting negative thoughts creep in.

What if I suck? What if I lose? What if I look like an idiot?

I made myself read that Facebook comment again and I clicked the last button to finalize my registration. I don’t know if I could have followed through if that comment wasn’t there.

#girlsrule

#girlswhodoBJJrulemore

This morning, I woke up to a courage by defiance hangover. The butterflies where fluttering in my stomach and there was a brief moment of panic.

But, I refuse to back out or quit. That’s just not who I am.

So, today, I am telling myself that those “what ifs” don’t matter. What matters is that I’m trying. There is a big chance that I will fail, but I can never, NEVER succeed if I don’t try. And, really even the winning or losing doesn’t matter either. It’s having the courage to get out of your comfort zone and learning from the experience.

The next three weeks are going to be crazy. I am competing in both gi and no-gi. I am going to try to get as much mat time in as I can, work hard, give it my all, and focus on becoming the best I can be by the tournament. I am completely open to any criticism and help. Roll with me, drill with me, smash me. I’m game for it all. If you see holes in my game, and obviously I’m a white belt so there will be a lot, don’t hesitate to tell me.

Here we go! Let’s do this!