Sixteen months ago I reflected on being submitted; I frakked up when trying a new move/got complacent and my partner used the opportunity to sink in a really sweet RNC. For purposes of symmetry I’m, today, reporting my own offensive success; last night, I took down one of the ‘big boys’ with my own rear naked choke.
While my offensive victory may seem humdrum to some readers, it has taken me five years to develop the skill to submit a heavier highly skilled opponent; this man is no chump and in addition to a 4-stripe blue belt in BJJ, he’s got professional cage fighting experience as well as a long-running career in traditional and nontraditional martial arts (I might also note, that he taps me regularly and did so twice yesterday evening).
Though I am reasonably handy, offensively, against female players of similar size, strength and skill as well as with noobs of varying size and gender, I’ve really struggled with male opponents of a similar belt rank. This is partly a ‘head problem’ in that I can lack the self belief to ‘go for it’ and partly a ‘reps problem’ as I spend a vast majority of my mat time getting smashed and working my defence.
I suppose I may sound like a braggart or as if I’m blowing this little experience out of proportion, but this has been a tremendously difficult part of my journey and I learned a lot from last night.
1) Be in the now. Defence and offence must be instinctual. This is self-evident and seasoned martial artists understand the importance of ‘being like water’ and letting go of ego; would I sound like a hippy to suggest inner peace allows the bod to do what it knows? Of course, understanding this truth and implementing it are two entirely separate issues.
2) Feel the position. By being in the now it is possible to ‘do’ rather than to ‘think about’. I didn’t see the position and then react; I was more like a passenger along for the ride as I watched my limbs do the deed.
3) Respect is strong. I’m lucky enough to train in a club full of mutual love and respect. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit insecurity about how the guys see me and my jits as they can often submit me while I very rarely get the upper hand with them. While I’ll tap without shame, I recognised last night that an offensive victory doesn’t equate to disdain for the person you’ve submitted. I didn’t fully appreciate this until now and I’m going to keep this lesson with me and perhaps it’ll help me fight those demons that would like to convince me otherwise.
20 Jul 2010 @ 1:19 pm
Well done Meg. You've every right to feel proud as you've said, it is a ground breaking moment – and as we both know, these are very few and far between.
20 Jul 2010 @ 1:29 pm
Thanks, Meerkatsu! You know it ain't easy being a shrimp on the mats! My lil BJJ sister, Charlotte, is only 40 kilos and is just amazing. Her clock choke is no joke!
8 Aug 2010 @ 8:01 am
Just stumbled across your blog as I was doing some web research about women in jiu jitsu. I don't believe you are blowing your recent experience out of proportion at all! This is a turning point in your game. I'm an older grappler who sometimes struggles against younger, more athletic practitioners. I relate on some level. I'm a U.S. Soldier in Iraq and a few women just joined our group. I'm looking for things I can use to make the experience more enjoyable, useful and relevant to them. I think this blog may be a resource I point them to. "See you on the mat!"
8 Aug 2010 @ 8:20 am
Don, thanks so much for reading! I appreciate the comment and I enjoyed a brief 'growth spurt' for about 2 weeks, then seemed to have taken a giant step back to where I was. But, you know how it is, all part of the challenge and the reward. Super news about women joining your training group. There's some nice blogs on my blog roll too and they also link to other top blogs like Prancing and Sucking and BJJ Grrl. Roll on!
26 Jan 2011 @ 11:02 pm
Awesome job! I always feel like I've climbed Everest when I get full mount on people 🙂
27 Jan 2011 @ 8:21 am
Oh indeed, Julia, obtaining and maintaining mount is a might feat! This turns out to have been a very helpful moment for my personal jits journey and really helped the confidence; this game is so much about the mind 🙂