First class of 2017.
First time going to a day class.
First time going to a beginner/adult combination class.
First time meeting yet another whole group of grapplers.
First time I felt no intimidation walking onto the mat!! (Yay me!)
Best of all, first time I actually felt the challenge to want to earn my first stripe.
All thanks to the lovely ladies I met today. They made me feel so much a part of the family but so do all the other members of Atos. What set these ladies apart was how in one swift second they made me feel like I could actually master this thing called Jiu Jitsu.
As a white belt, I am not allowed to go to any other classes except the beginner classes until I have earned my first stripe. There is this tremendous calmness in my mind after spending an hour on the mat, I am in no rush for anything more.
Walking into the studio today, I was immediately welcomed as if they knew me from before. Instantly any trepidation that I might have felt, disappeared. I didn’t even have time to think about my fear.
Now it’s time for me to get my Gi on..I run into the change room and throw it all on. Can you believe it only took me a minute to get ready? And….I remembered to tie the knot of my pants on the side instead of the front.
Uhhmmm….wait a minute….
…am I actually dressed, belt looped properly, pants staying on, hair in a proper knot, no jewelry …on the mat ready to learn – and my heart is not palpitating at a bajillion beats per second????? Is it possible that this is another first?! Yep….I am good. In control. I can do this…
Time to find partners to practice drilling – I think I will go find one of the ladies….
Professor Riccardo partners me up with a black belt. Yes, you read correctly. A black belt.
How close am I to the door? Can I make a run for it?
This gentleman turns, smiles at me and says….are you ready?
What is going on with me today??!! My response to him was….yes! (Here I am – practicing today’s new drill – learning how to grip.)
Professor P***l (I’ve learned that Black belts are referred to as Professor) was great. We both practiced what we learned today. I noticed that even though he is a black belt and I a white – he too was (re-)learning new things. Then we talked about the sport of Jiu Jitsu and how it is a gentle sport. As we were practicing these moves and I was spending more time on just trying to remember all the techniques, he commented on that he felt that people who took Jiu Jitsu are really smart because of the constant thinking required with every move (he wasn’t saying that others who do different things are not but that Jiu Jitsu is like a game of strategy, you have to try and figure out your opponent’s next move so as not to get caught in his or her hold.)
I am in his closed guard and trying to…. (truth is I don’t even know what I was doing) …
Woah!!! Did he just say that people who are drawn to Jiu Jitsu are smart? Does that include me??? Does that make me smart too – am I not in a Gi practicing drills?!?
With a smile across my face, I focused even harder.
Class is over, I am elated just by watching the higher belts roll and master their moves. They are laughing and smiling, their energy is contagious. I am sitting on the sidelines when it dawns on me that for the first time, I actually want to get in on that action.
I feel like that awkward teenage girl sitting on the sidelines of the dance floor and no one is asking me to dance. I giggle to myself. Realizing that I have just broken a level of my fears – I am no longer content with simply watching – now I want to be one of them.
What a great class today.
Off to change and without a missed beat, the ladies whom I have now known for a total of 20 seconds, make me feel like a million bucks. They want me to join them in the adult classes but I quickly remind them I can only go to the beginners one.
They didn’t even flinch. With all confidence, they told me it won’t take me long –
Now…they have given me an injection of empowerment and I no longer ‘think’ I can do this but ‘know’ I can.
This is how you ladies made me feel today. Thank you for being such a tremendous support…see you on the mat tomorrow!