When I first started the self-defense class at Pura Atos Hamilton, the only previous experience I had in martial arts was the last time I signed up for a different self-defense class at a old gym I attended which lasted one class. That was not a good experience. It was not Jiu Jitsu based – there were far more strikes and jabs – setting off my triggers of a nasty past personal experience into high gear.
The only reason I went back a second time, many years later, was so that I can work at overcoming those instilled fears and get past them once and for all. You know that saying…close one door before opening another?
Ok then, now I am on the mat. Surrounded by other women. This should be ok. No stress here, right?
Until I find myself standing over top of one of the ladies and she places her hands on my legs…OMG! I forgot to shave my legs!! I lose total concentration and start to giggle at the absurdity of my anxiety all due to a few hairs! I literally feel the need to stop and apologize to my opponent. She didn’t even notice, chuckled and said don’t sweat it.
A little background, mom and dad were self-employed. Mom was a seamstress so my clothing always had to be impeccable and Dad is a barber so my hair and nails always pristine. Don’t get me wrong, my folks are by no means superficial but it was their bread and butter so I was their walking marketing billboard. Biggest reason I never leave the house without lipstick on is because it has been ingrained into me.
We are judged by what we look like within the first 3 seconds of meeting someone – unfortunately.
So now this takes me to my second incident and my very first injury at Jiu Jitsu. Ladies, when you are on your Jiu Jitsu journey, please….trim your toenails. I don’t care if you have polish on them or not (but you should, of course) please, please, please….trim them. I was sparring with a young lady and we were actually just getting into it when this searing pain shot through my finger. I couldn’t stop because she kept coming at me but my mind shot off in every direction possible because for the life of me, I couldn’t understand where I had hurt myself. When our 2 minutes were up, I got up and had blood dripping onto my hand and t-shirt. It wasn’t until the next day, that one of my students told me I probably got cut by someone’s toenails. Really? So gross….thank goodness I cleaned it up right away.
My third incident, you ask! My gels. One of my units I teach at school is manicuring. The girls watch my every move and they always look at my hands. So I go out of my way to keep them as well manicured as possible. That includes on occasion spending the money and having gels put on. (Gentlemen, don’t worry if you don’t know what this means….just think that you always always always like the look of it on a lady friend and those biker chick pics you like to look at, ya….they have them too usually) One week, my manicurist decides to ignore me when I said I wanted them shorter, I got distracted and by the time I noticed they weren’t short enough, it was too late. Oh well, they looked pretty and what harm could they do. Until….it was training night, and now I have my new Gi. We start learning Pull Guard. Notice how he grips his hands on the Gi. The Gi is made out of very strong material….not conducive to long-ish nails. Ouch!! One of the nails started to lift…’son of a balony!!’ Did that ever hurt!! Back to the manicurist…time to take these gels off.
And lastly, pony tails. I like my long hair. My hairstylist does a fantastic job, it makes me feel pretty and feminine. But…now on the mat, it really has become a royal pain in the pitootee…if I put in a pony, and my opponent sticks my head in a guillotine move, she tends to pull at my baby hairs and I can’t concentrate (not her fault, mine) plus my pony gets in her way, not allowing her to place her arm in just the right position to choke. (lol, I still can’t get over that I let others do this to me!) Onwards to combating with a gentleman, and he gets all frustrated because at that moment, he doesn’t have long hair and mine is
seriously in the way..so I have learned (not successfully yet) how to do a top knot. This seems to keep it tucked away without the need of clips or hairpins which you absolutely cannot wear in Jiu Jitsu. It’s a safety hazard for all parties involved.
What have I learned? Keep your hair like your butt, nice and tight. Your nails, top and bottom, trimmed and short. Shave up to your knees. Not sure why anyone would be sticking their hands all the way up your pants, save shaving above the knee for your next date.
And most importantly above all else….
Stay clean. Wash your Gi, use vinegar if necessary to get rid of that musty smell. We say the gentlemen’s …uhmm …aroma…can be offsetting but ladies, not all of us smell like roses either if we don’t maintain a water, soap and deodorant routine.
Other blogger’s thoughts on this topic include…
Blogger JiuJiu: on Women and BJJ Femininity