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Jiu Jitsu Revisited

Back in the summer of 2009 I first tried out Jiu Jitsu at Fight and Fitness in SF. I took maybe 10 classes over the period of a few months. Most classes left me feeling quite sore, and as a beginner my ego was often bruised. But starting anything new often presents uncomfortable challenges. I missed classes for a while until I dropped in again in January 2010, and strained my back quite badly. Fortunately the Jiu Jitsu guy I was rolling with when I hurt myself was Peter Goldman, an excellent chiropractor and zone healer who fixed my back over the coming months. But while my back recovered my desire to explore Jiu Jitsu did not.

A few weeks ago I became excited about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu all over again. I read Sam Sheridan's book The Fighter's Mind, where a chapter focused on Marcelo Garcia, a world champion in Jiu Jitsu. He is an amazing competitor that often beats much larger opponents, see the video below. I also read The Art of Learning a book where Josh Waitzkin details his life growing up as a chess champion, and further on into his life as a Tai Chi Push Hands champion. Josh eventually moved into the world of Jiu Jitsu. Both these books reinvigorated my interest in learning Jiu Jitsu.

My goal in taking Alex Ferreira's class at FnF again was to do at least 10 classes. Going back to the class was a lot easier than starting from scratch. I remembered much of what I had learned before. The classes are still tough, I have a lot to learn, but the techniques are easier to understand. Free rolling, where you essentially spar on the ground, wears me out fast. Bigger guys I especially find grueling to work with, as they can use their weight to make me work really hard.

Today was class number five, taking me half way to my 10 class goal. Suitably it was commemorated with a slightly bigger guy dropping his knee, and his body weight behind it, directly on my crotch. Fuck that hurt, even with a groin cup. I almost called it a night, but eventually shook off the pain and got back on the mat for a little while longer. It was worth it, any time spent on the mat is a chance to learn more and get better. Each submission won a little reward for a job well done, each submission lost a motive to keep on working on improving my game.