Posts Tagged ‘jiu jitsu’

Haikuesday 11.22.16

November 22, 2016 2 comments

Jiu jitsu is hard.

Everything is hard right now,

so I’ll step it up.


Haikuesday 08.02.16

August 2, 2016 Leave a comment

On or off the mat,

buddies are important

for one’s well-being.

Up and down.

March 26, 2016 Leave a comment

It only took about 24 seconds for me to feel unstoppable. Just 24 seconds of me in the loud, grimy gym near my house on a Monday morning for me to see what a ferocious little monster I can be. A little encouragement, a lot of focus. That was it.

Leading up to those 24 seconds, I was not feeling invincible. I was feeling empty. My recent promotion at work was freaking me out. Each day in my new role, I was seized around the throat by that feeling that I was in way over my head. I was up all night reviewing all the ways I thought I screwed up and possible new ways for me to screw up in the future. I questioned my judgement. I questioned my assertiveness. I cried. I shut down. I ate three bowls of Coco Puffs in a row.

I told myself that I was going to be OK. I told myself I was just going to take this opportunity to learn and grown. I’m not going to grind away my sanity and well-being. “Be gentle to yourself,” is what I kept repeating in my head. I made sure I didn’t skip morning work outs and made it to judo practice. My non-work time was filled with nice things and nice people. I was going to be OK. I was going to do this. No drowning.

At the end of last week, I told myself I was relaxed and in control. That was a fib though. Deep down, I was still freaking out. Monday came, and I was so relieved that a few months ago, I scheduled the day off. My boyfriend, Frank, was with me and we had plans to go deadlift. I am novice level at deadlifting. I started lifting once a week in January and made my way up slowly from 115# to 145#. Frank trains in jiu jitsu and also took a period where he focused on power lifting. He’s smart and wants to do things to right way, not the bro way, so he’s a good gym buddy and training partner.

Frank was insistent that I could deadlift way more than 145#. I did not believe him. He said I could pull 200#. I did not believe him. I just started. I’m not that diesel. We put 135# on the bar and Frank studied me doing five reps. He told me, “I’m going to fix, like, two things and your deadlifts are going to go up 100# pounds today.” I raised an eyebrow. He showed me the adjustments. Then we kept adding weight gradually. We got up to 175#. I was in happy disbelief. How about 190#? Sure, why not. Then Frank asked, “Think you could try 200?” Sure. I got my breathing together. I gripped up. I pulled. I got the bar maybe and inch or two off the ground and then put it back down. I got scared. “It’s too heavy. It’s a lot of weight,” I said with furrowed brow. “Yeah, it is a lot of wait,” Frank acknowledged, empathetically.  I paused. I breathed. I said goodbye to my fear. I could do it. “I want to try again. I think I can do it.” I got my mind ready. I approached the bar again. Frank stood a few feet away, coaching and cheering me through. I did it. I pulled 200#.

I know 200# is not that amazing for serious powerlifters, but it’s amazing to me. I really didn’t think I could do it. At least not yet. I didn’t let myself see that I had that in me. But I do. It’s awesome.

When I got to work on Tuesday,  I was amped. I didn’t care about any crises, any drama, any tension. None of that scared me. I just deadlifted 200#. I know it sounds dumb, but that’s how I felt. Anything that came up, I was just, like, so what? This hard, but it’s not that hard. It all can get done. I felt calm even when a situation came up where I didn’t know the immediate solution. I was sure of myself. I was excited. I mean, I can pull 200#.

Twenty four seconds was all it took.




Haikuesday 03.22.16

March 22, 2016 Leave a comment

He made a spreadsheet

for my deadlifting program.

I love him so much.

Haikuesday 02.23.16

February 23, 2016 Leave a comment

This will be my year,

as I release fear and doubt

to be my best self.

Confidence and vulnerability.

February 20, 2016 2 comments

Why is it scary to believe in yourself? Why is scary to tell yourself you can meet any challenge with commitment and grace? Why is it scary to imagine yourself getting what you want?

Perhaps I’m asking these questions for myself. Maybe very few people experience difficulty rallying confidence when facing change and opportunity, but I do. My confidence comes in waves. I wake up and tell myself I am in control of my life. I can do anything I want if I put the work in and stay open to learning. I can be great. Then a few hours later, one little thing tips the scale and I begin to wonder who I think I’m kidding. How did I fool others into believing in me? Maybe I don’t have it. Maybe I can’t do it. There I’ll be, staring at myself in some bathroom mirror at work, at home, at the gym, asking, “What are you so afraid of right now? Is failure? Or is it actually getting what you want?”

When I was kid, I was a terrible loser in sports. I had no sportsmanship. I had unreachable standards for myself in school as well. Nothing less than perfect was acceptable. Losing made me cry convulsively. Anything lower than an A- made me physically ill. In adulthood, I’ve worked on easing up on myself and finding the value in failure. Failure makes you look at yourself and see where you need to rise. Sometimes, it can show you what you did well even when everything fell apart. Failure can bury you, but ultimately it can allow you to re-focus and give yourself new purpose.

So that’s failure. What about success? What will I gain if I commit, focus, and have everything go my way? Sometimes when I think about success, whether it’s in my career or in martial arts, I feel this little jab of fear cut me in the ribs. Success comes with anticipation and expectation. Evidence predicts that you should be the best again. Stay at the top. Show it wasn’t a fluke. Show you earned it. Maybe that’s not so terrible. Maybe the scary thing is what I have to unleash in order to be successful. I have to let go of doubt and hesitancy. I have to show the side of myself who won’t compromise my instincts. I hold ferocity that I often try to suppress to make myself more palatable to others. But I have to let go of inhibition. Of course, this looks different in the world of social work than it does in grappling sports. I think it’s like a full assertion of your sense of self. It’s not hiding behind only the nice parts of yourself. It’s showing all of you at once.

I want a lot of things for myself. I have specific career goals that I am actively pursuing. I have a plan. I am dedicating this year to judo over jiu jitsu because I could feel myself shying away from judo since I’d run into some mental blocks. I want to bust through them. When you go after something you really want, you become vulnerable. That’s probably why failure hurts so much, because you made yourself vulnerable to the world and it didn’t work out. I think in order to show confidence, you have to embrace your vulnerability. Maybe vulnerability is the key to success.



Haikuesday 02.16.16

February 16, 2016 Leave a comment

BJJ was rough,

so I wanted to regroup.

Then Kata was good.