The Monster.

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This morning is one of those that I woke up to find that my jiu-jitsu beaten body is sore from head to toe. Literally. Even my ear is sore. My ear!

I had such a great time last night. Which is pretty shocking considering my monthly subscription to Satan’s waterfall is on it’s way and I’m kind of known for transforming into a super bitch in the week leading up to it. An overly sensitive, cry at stupid shit, short tempered, emotionally confused, don’t fucking touch me, hormonal roller coaster riding, self-hating, socially uncomfortable (even more so than normal,) don’t want to be around people, mega-super bitch. If you aren’t following what I’m talking about, (men I’m speaking to you,) I put the monster in PMS. I should be wearing a sign that says “Proceed with caution. Will stab you, will eat your brownies, and will cry uncontrollably over stupid shit.

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Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into great detail about the subject that seems to terrify men more than cucumbers scare cats.

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These videos never get old!

I mean you mention anything about “feminine hygiene” products and men get all flustered, red faced, and grossed out.

Relax. I’m not going there.

I am, however, going to tell you that PMS and jiu-jitsu is tough. I don’t know if it is for all women, but it sure is a battle for me. I turn into a person that is slightly terrifying, emotionally unpredictable, and totally crazy. I’m already in my head and hard on myself enough when it comes to jiu-jitsu and social situations and PMS intensifies it to a head games on crack level of crazy.

Like I need assistance in that department.

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The overly sensitive part makes me cry easily when I get frustrated and am struggling with something. Hormones are just cruel. At times I’m thinking, “Good grief, woman, get a hold of yourself!” but my overly aggressive hormones ignore all rational thought and reaction and instead go straight to crazy-town.

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I tend to give up on something quicker if it’s more challenging. I’ll tell myself, “I can’t do it. I’ll never be able to do it. Why am I here? I should just go home.” I really have to make myself aware of what I’m going through and that it is the PMS talking or else I probably wouldn’t even leave my house.

I’m quicker to over analyze and worry about what people think of me. I tend to find myself immediately going to a “This person hates me,” or “That person thinks I’m stupid,” to a “I am stupid. They should hate me!” It’s exhausting and pathetic in that whole “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms…” pity party way.

And nobody wants an invitation to a pity party.

One plus to jiu-jitsu and PMS is that when my husband breathes in a way that annoys me, (seriously, this is the crazy it does to me,) I can cross face him a little more.

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Breathes. Or talks. Or looks at me. Or doesn’t look at me…

It also means that he has to walk on eggshells around his crazed, rage-filled wife since she is learning jiu-jitsu and has certain tools that can potentially hurt him. He’s the real hero in this whole monthly situation. We’ve been married for almost 14 years, which means he’s survived, with all limbs intact, through roughly 160-ish weeks of my demon-like tendencies.

A true hero.

All men that deal with us during this time are heroes. Seriously, my thanks to you for your service and my apologies that we put you through this crazy shit. We really don’t mean to be horrible bitches, it just happens, uncontrollably. Apologies for this post too, I’m sure, if you even made it this far, it’s making you slightly uncomfortable.

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This is solid advice.

As far as jiu-jitsu, I feel like I won the battle with my evil self last night. I tried to make myself aware that my little demon was there and did my best to keep her hidden way in the back of my brain. Anytime she tried to surface, I put her back in her place. I got in many great rounds, played around with some new stuff, and just had a great time in general. It was nice to walk out with a smile during such a emotionally imbalanced time. And, I actually felt like my normal self, or at least as normal as you can realistically call me, for the rest of the evening.

If jiu-jitsu can help me deal with the PMS demons and distractions better, it’s a lot more badass that I had originally thought.

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A Skilled Sailor.

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If ever there was a motivational quote that fit jiu-jitsu without being a direct comment about jiu-jitsu, it would be that one. Being a self-proclaimed quote junkie, it’s one that often pops in my head after a tough night of rolls. It’s a great reminder that if I want to get better, if I want to learn, I’m going to have to go through some tough challenges.

After my first five rounds of rolling I took a break, sat on the bench, and drank some water while completely zoning out to the highlight reel replaying in my head of my mistakes. My many, many mistakes. I was almost tempted to just chalk it up to a bad night, pack up my bag, and go home, but I’ve really been trying hard not to ever let myself do that. If I give up every time something gets a little tough, I’m obviously going to progress a lot slower.

I think when you focus on everything as a loss, it’s harder on you mentally. If you can focus on the mistakes and failures as more of an experimental learning opportunity, it’s easier to adopt the mentality of finding purpose, not competition in each roll. I can either put my energy into being mad at myself for making mistakes that ultimately led to a tap, or I can put my energy into understanding that these mistakes and learning from them have the potential to lead me to a higher skill set.

The ultimate goal is to get better, and smooth seas are not going to make me better.

I had one more round to get in to hit my six-round minimum goal and just to really put a “you are brave” spin on the situation, I walked out there and asked someone that I’ve never rolled with to roll with me. A little dose of courage and the wave of satisfaction that comes from putting myself out there and discovering that it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be, was just what I needed.

It’s kind of funny how it can be a tough night, but if you can focus on the right mindset, it can also be a great night. I think I’m getting a lot better about really appreciating the tough rolls and the hard nights. While I do tend to get in my head after a tough roll it’s not so much in a, “You suck, you can’t do this” way anymore. I used to make it so personal while focusing too much on comparison and get so down on myself, like I was a giant failure. Now, it’s more of a in my head situation because I dissect the roll and try to discover where I messed up and what I could have maybe done differently. It’s a more positive, productive “in my head” kind of thing.

I think my favorite thing of the night was that each person I rolled with gave me tips and helped me with a few areas I’m struggling with. I walked out the door with six very specific things I can work on that I wouldn’t have noticed on my own. Just think, if I can take those six things, work on them, and improve in those six areas, that’s a lot for me at this point.

So, while it was a tough night, it was also a night that I know will make me better. Mentally, physically, and skillfully. I so much appreciate everyone at SFC, all of those that I rolled with, and how much they helped me. Most importantly, I appreciate that they don’t let me coast on smooth seas.

Because I plan on one day being a damn skillful sailor.

Hips Don’t Lie.

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I like to think that in many aspects, jiu-jitsu helps keep me young. In the staying active, doing cool jiu-jitsu-y things, personal growth, kicking ass kind of sense. Although, at white belt, my kicking ass might not be the true definition of the phrase. It’s more like a kicking ass in a I finally hit the sweep I’ve been working on or I survived a back take with relentless attacks kind of way. Let’s say I kick ass at being a mediocre white belt.

I never thought that I would be doing something like jiu-jitsu at my age and when I’m on the mat, for the most part, I don’t feel old. I feel empowered and tough and energetic and determined and eager to learn and motivated and a million other positive things that remind me of those days of my youth. Sometimes it’s hard to tap into those kind of feelings when you’re drained between work, taking care of kids, dealing with a Mr. Preteen McTurdpants, taking care of animals, supporting your husband’s business, keeping a house from looking like a bomb of socks, pet hair, and dirty dishes exploded all over everything. It’s easy to get caught up in the blah adult routine of work, parent, clean, sleep, lather, rinse, repeat. *Jiu-jitsu feels like that last little tether I have to my youth.  (*The morning after jiu-jitsu doesn’t count in that last statement.)

Well, that’s how I felt until I injured my hip.

Good grief. If you want to feel old, the hip is where it’s at. Who I am I kidding? I’m not young. I’m old and my hips know it. And remember, as the great hip moving professional Shakira said, hips don’t lie.

Now, are you ready for this really cool, intense story of how I injured my hip? Well, gather round kiddos, I’ve got a good one for you.

We were drilling an approach to getting to high guard and attacking from there. To start, your partner, while in your guard, had a hold of your lapel. You grabbed a cross sleeve grip and then you hip up to help slide your other hand under their arm to grab your own wrist and then you can break the lapel grip from there. I raised my hip during this and felt an immediate cramp in my left hip/butt area.

Seriously?

It couldn’t have been a situation where I was trying to hip bump sweep a 250 lb. guy? It couldn’t be because I was doing awesome jiu-jitsu moves against a drilling super resister? It couldn’t be because I had a beautiful bridge and shrimp to escape side control under a grizzly bear?

No.

It had to be that I simply lifted my hips up off the mat with zero resistance.

Lame.

*purses lips, looks down, shakes head back and forth in a mixture of both embarrassment and disappointment at one’s lame, old ass self.

Now this isn’t a devastating injury by any means. It’s more like a nuisance. I tried stretching it out a few times and continued to drill. Each time it was my turn and I had to hip up, I would silently tell myself, “Don’t be a little bitch. It won’t hurt that bad.” And then it would and I could barely raise my hips up. The second I was using any kind of hip movement I was greeted with a shooty-ish, crampy pain. Thankfully, the pain wasn’t horrible during rolling. I don’t feel like it held me back or limited me or that I might injure it further. It was mostly just a pain in the ass. Literally. It was more annoying than anything.

However, by the time we were leaving and my body had cooled down a bit, the pain of it was a little more pronounced and gave me a little bit of a limp as we walked to the car. Thirty minutes later when we arrived home it had progressed to me feeling like I should be walking with orthopedic shoes and one of those four-pronged canes with tennis balls on the bottom.

How’s that for feeling old?

Jiu-jitsu, you teased me with youth only to beat me at the hip with the old stick. I would like to say that I’ll make you pay for it, but we all know that you’ll kick my ass over and over again. It’s okay. I still love you.

Old ass hip trouble aside, I had a great class last night. I enjoyed what we drilled and found it very useful, I had lots of tough rounds of rolling, and I walked out the door feeling positive and happy. Even if I am feeling old and gimpy for the time being.

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Back in the Habit.

Last night was my first night back in about two weeks.

That’s like forever in jiu-jitsu time.

I hate having to miss and I especially hate having to miss for multiple classes in a row. There’s the obvious reason I hate missing, I love jiu-jitsu and I love how doing jiu-jitsu makes me feel. Jiu-jitsu helps me in so many areas of my life and when I have to miss, it can easily knock everything else off kilter.

Another reason I don’t like missing is that with me being a super shy person, every class, every single class, I get nervous walking into the gym. There’s a part of me that is like, “Jesus, Allison! Still?

Yes, still.

After two years, I’m still nervous walking onto the mat. So, when I’ve missed a few classes and don’t face that fear on a regular basis, it just continues to build and snowball into a bigger fear and there’s a little voice in my brain that tries to talk me out of going. The longer I’m away, the harder it is to go.

Another reason? I’m a creature of routine and when I have to deviate from my routine I get cranky. Super cranky. Routine is my jam.

So yeah, I was a little nervous and in my head at first. There’s always that worry that a few missed classes means I’ve forgotten everything, I’m going to look like an idiot, and everyone is going to point and laugh at me. Have I ever mentioned that I don’t tend to use logical thought and reasoning? I typically rely on ridiculousness and self-depreciating thoughts to fuel my brain. It’s more fun that way. Makes life a little more challenging. And comical in a kind of, sort of, mostly sad way.

When it came time for rolling I was a little worried about my “new year, new me” goal of no less than six rounds a night. See, I set that goal while I was going regularly and didn’t foresee that I was going to have to miss for a few weeks and possibly lose my cardio. There was a part of me that was kicking myself for setting that goal. The other part of me decided that I couldn’t miss my goal on the first day back after I set it, could I? No effin’ way.

So six rounds I did.

Six rounds with the full rainbow of jiu-jitsu colors: white (2), blue, purple, brown, and black. I nearly died, but I got in my six rounds. Obviously, my cardio wasn’t all that great, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I made mistakes, I tried some new things I had “studied” while stuck at home, got some fantastic advice on some things I have been struggling with, and I had a lot fun. The mat was full and being there made me so happy. It felt amazing to be back!

Oh, and I asked people to roll. Yay me!

Hello 2018.

And so we meet again.

Two months have passed since I last wrote on here and I wish I had some grand excuse for my absence. Taming lions, making millions, traveling the world… Instead it’s more like work, work, more work and holidays. I’ve had a huge work project, an ebook that I’ve been working on for roughly 5 years and I was fed up with my drag-ass on it and became absolutely determined to finish it. I still did jiu-jitsu all that time, but my hobby writing had to be put on the back burner for a bit.

A lot has happened in two months. Some new, some of the same. Many ups, many downs. That is the way of jiu-jitsu.

Last year, 2017, was probably the best year of my life and I think jiu-jitsu had a huge part in that. I learned so much about myself and experienced growth in a lot of areas both mentally and physically. I’m not the same person I was in January 2017 as I am today, January 2018. And that is always the goal for each year. To improve, to grow, to be better.

Of course, since it is day one of 2018, the main gist of my post today is to set out my new goals for the new year. I set goals all the time, but I always like the beginning of a new year and see it as a good opportunity to pause and reflect on where I’m at and where I see myself going.

Here are my jiu-jitsu goals for the year:

Goal #1 – To continue the weight loss from 2017. I’ve ended the year with only 25 lbs left to go to hit my goal weight. My weight loss process has been so slow, but it’s something I’m always working towards and never giving up on.

Goal #2 – To roll no less than 6 rounds per class/open mat.

Goal #3 – To try the new things I am learning and to not be so afraid of failure while rolling. To go for the things I’m working on and accepting that I will make mistakes and I will fail, but I will be better in the long run because of it.

Goal #4 – To work on my fears of asking people to roll. I’ve worked on this one a lot and honestly I think that fear will always be there, but my hope is that maybe if I keep pursuing this, it will get better. I sense a longer post on this later on.

Goal #5 – To get my blue belt. That’s the biggest one I’m working towards this year. Sometimes I feel close and sometimes I feel like I’ll never earn it, but I feel like with some hard work it could possibly, maybe, kinda happen this year. We’ll see!

I look forward to working towards these goals and seeing what 2018 brings.

Happy New Year, everyone!