Early Bird Gets the Sweep.

Back from vacation and back to the normal life where there isn’t a beautiful beach just a few steps out the back door.


I was trying to get a picture of the boys with the ocean view in the background when Jackson made the mistake of telling Drew that his jiu-jitsu sucked. Boys.


I’m glad to be back, but I always have a little struggle coming home after being near the ocean. I am in love with just sitting there and looking out and seeing endless water. Every day of our vacation I spent hours just staring at the water. There’s just something so refreshing about being in a place that can make you feel so small and the ocean always does that for me. It always helps me to see my problems in a different perspective and consider that I might be a little bat shit crazy about silly, trivial things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

As much as I loved sitting there, enjoying the view, and pretending that I was wealthy enough to afford the mansions on the beach for more than just a week, I spent a lot of time excited to get back to jiu-jitsu. Some due to the fact that after almost of year of inconsistent attendance I’m finally at a point where there should be no more large breaks in the foreseeable future. But, mostly, I was excited in large part to a super motivating experience in the Thursday morning class.

Mornings, throughout my life, have generally been a nope for me.


I’ve always been a night owl and in my younger days I very much enjoyed working from midnight until the sun came up. I think that’s just the typical creative-type golden hours of productivity. It was my favorite time of day. Over the years and two kids later, I’ve adapted to normal hours, going to bed early and getting up every morning at 6:00 a.m. without a struggle or even so much as a tap of the snooze button. I actually kind of, sort of enjoy mornings after the initial “I’ll-throat-punch-you-if-you-talk-to-me” pre-coffee time. I see myself as someone who has made the successful switcheroo from night owl to early bird.

Look at me! Adulting and stuff! Getting the worm!

Just when I’ve gotten all comfortable and confident in my early rising abilities, and after a post about my jiu-jitsu struggles, it was suggested that I try out the 5:00 a.m. jiu-jitsu class. With all my newfangled morphing into a morning person my first thought is that 5:00 a.m. doesn’t sound too terribly awful. But then, I start doing the get up and get ready math and suddenly 4:00 a.m. sounds like a time when only lunatics would get out of bed and start their day.


I think I’ve only gotten up that early in my life for two things: screaming, hungry babies and once when I was like 12 and my step-brother talked me into going to some sunrise church service on the top of a bluff. Full disclosure: I only went because he said they would be serving pancakes afterwards.



Does my alarm even go all the way back to 4:00 a.m.? Could I walk into and participate in a class all by myself? What if nobody wanted to partner with me? Do they serve pancakes afterwards? (It was vital that I asked myself the important questions.)

It came down to a mix of “Fuck it! Just do it!” and knowing that I’ve always understood and appreciated the way the Brett breaks down and teaches a technique. For almost three years I’ve watched him teach the kids class and because of the way he breaks things down I have been able to take something he’s taught and execute it in rolling with no drilling. I knew that I would never regret taking one of his classes.

Even if I had to get up at 4:00 a.m.

So, Thursday morning rolled around and I discovered that my alarm actually does have the ability to work at 4:00 a.m., that I can walk into and participate in a class all by myself, and that I had zero issues with partners. While there weren’t pancakes, the instruction, conversation, support, and motivation was more than enough to have me walking off the mat feeling full and satisfied.

So many details actually stuck with me, even with a week off for vacation, and from just that one class I went from half-guard smashed-ville to half-guard sweep-town. I hit the sweep a couple of times on men bigger and stronger than me. I even got smashed down, flat on my back, and managed to work each step to get the sweep.

That, my friends, is when I fall deeply in love with jiu-jitsu. When those tiny little details can make it possible for me to push over a strong, athletic man with minimal effort. I’ve still got a lot to work on with these half-guard sweeps. Obviously. But, I felt like I had a much better handle on what to do and in those moments when I did make mistakes, I could instantly recognize the detail I had messed up.

I can’t believe I’m saying this…but I can’t wait for 4:00 a.m. tomorrow! (And there’s not even pancakes involved.)

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