I can breathe again! Whoop! Whoop!
It made all the difference in both kickboxing and BJJ. Who knew that breathing would be vital to physical activity!? Crazy!
*Please tell me you sensed the sarcasm in that. If not, who ties your shoes for you?
Again, we finished out class with another 30 or so rounds of pass, sweep, submit. Thanks to the ability to inhale and exhale properly, I felt a million times better than the last few weeks. Yay for normal body function! You just really don’t appreciate the simplicity of being able to breathe until it’s a struggle.
I love pass, sweep, submit. I really do. I mostly get my ass kicked, but I really feel like I’m making a lot of improvements and at a more rapid pace.
The most exciting element for me last night was the amount of sweeps I had success with. I have been so scared to go for sweeps. Getting the right leverage and lift and pull and push and this and that is hard to get down at first. And, that whole opening up your guard to go for them always kind of kept me from venturing that route often. I always felt much safer keeping my guard locked up tight and breaking their posture down. However, we all know that safety and comfort zones are not where you learn. No sir.
For the non-BJJ-ers (aka: my family that reads this), sweeps are taking a person on top of you, while you are on your back, and flipping them onto theirs.
Obviously if you just tried to muscle and push the person it would never work. I’m not She-Ra, Princess of Power. I can’t bench press a person.
This is where the awesomeness of BJJ comes into play. The small-guy-can-beat-the-bigger-guy (or gal) part. If you can get someone off their base you can pull their upper body in one direction with your hands while pushing their lower body in the other direction with your legs and suddenly they are on their back.
The higher ranks make it look so easy when they sweep you. You feel as light as a feather as you fly to your back and land with a solid thud on the mat. Oh, that thud sound. The sound that loudly proclaims, “Ha ha! You just fucked up!” I have much appreciation and respect for anything and anyone that makes me feel light like that. And my “you just fucked up” realization usually results in a face similar to this…
One of my favorite things about jiu-jitsu is that once you understand a concept, it opens the door for so much more. Last night, my successes came from focusing on the simple concept that if I can pull their upper body here, and push their lower body there, I can sweep them. Keeping my attention on that helped me to go for it and experiment more. It helped me to work with what my opponent was doing and trying to feel out which sweep would be more effective.
I knew going into class that sweeps were going to be my main focus. I just don’t use them enough and I so badly want to get better at them. Any opportunity I had to go for a sweep last night, I jumped at. I had some major mess ups in my attempts, a few that were so, so close, and a handful that were successful. I’m really happy with that. I feel like I learned a lot and like I have a pretty clear vision of what I need to work on to get better. It was just a few months ago that I had never successfully used a sweep so getting several in one night is a pretty big leap in progress as far as I’m concerned.
I still, almost after every class, am amazing at how much BJJ is helping me not just in class, but in life in general. I used to be terrified of trying new things and the risk looking like an idiot. That used to pretty much be my purpose in life, to avoid new things, to avoid taking risks, and to avoid putting myself in a position to look stupid. Jiu-jitsu has taught me that chances are you are going to look a little silly as you fumble through the new, but man, as long as you keep trying and stick with it, it’s so worth it. The benefit of putting yourself out there, challenging yourself, and fighting through your fears is immeasurable.