jiujitsu (im)possible*

you know how it is when all of a sudden, it all makes sense?

this is not one of those moments yet.

it was my eleventh session after four weeks of being off the mats. and while i had been gone longer than this, it felt like it was my first time again (the team had moved to a different dojo; the energy felt different).

it was a slow start for me. i was going through the motions without understanding why.

butterfly sweep. flower sweep. a sweep that ends in an arm bar.

momentum is key, they said. it is common sense, they said. but i couldn’t make the sweep. the hubby wouldn’t budge.

then he tells me instead “use MY momentum”.

and just like that, something flickered in my head, and i sweep him in one motion. not as smooth as it should be. some points of control not pushed or pulled enough. but i was getting there.

i started to roll. i used my weight. i used whatever agility i had and moved as my partner moved (as if this was not enough, my crazy tendril-like hair, in braids at that, ended up on one side of my face, poking my cheeks as i struggled) until i got to side mount. he moved his way towards my collar and as he started to set up a choke, i pulled my head away. big mistake. i had to tap out.

and just like that, something flickered in my head.

i tell him to start where we ended, with him pulling my collar for a choke. instead of pulling my head away, i put my head down. and he couldn’t pull off the choke. but he got my arm instead with me on side mount and we were locked in this position until the timer went off.

i mustered the courage to ask my coach a question, as to what i should do while on side mount with my arm trapped by my opponent. but because i had difficulty with the terms, my coaches initially couldn’t get what i was trying to say (i actually said “i was on prone and he was on his back” with some hand gesture and they said “what do you mean by on prone?”). my jargon was as bad as my skill. it was embarrassing, really (the hubby would later point out that it was not that they didn’t understand me. it was more that they didn’t understand how i could have given out my arm so easily, much to my horror).

he starts off with a (slightly) lengthy explanation as to how this is basic (but because i was barely showing up, i probably missed this one), how one should not be open (“you were too far from his body”), and how one should not get into a more advantageous position only to end up being trapped (to be fair, i think he was happy that i was finally asking questions. or so i tell myself.). he tells me, in jest, that this is actually not as hard as my day job (i would have to agree. this is waaaay harder than my day job.). and then shows me that instead of trying to pull my arm away, i should move closer to my arm, towards my opponent, until i reach his collar deep enough to trap his head.

and just like that, something flickered in my head (along with a jaw drop).

once, during a roll, the hubby set up his move such that i had no choice but to land on my side so he can take my back. normally, i would have fallen into that trap but, for some reason, my head willed my body to face him instead (there was some form of approval that came from him that time).

so it seems that the best move sometimes is to go against one’s own instinctive reaction – not to pull away but to move closer; not to turn away but to go forward.

(the hubby was trying to explain this through Physics. and while i was better at this subject than Chemistry, my mind started to shut down at the mention of fulcrum and base of support. to each his own analytic process, i suppose).

thankful for the patience of my coaches (sometimes, i do feel like the dumbest student but they cheer me on anyway); for engrams that (still) work at this age; and these little flickers of light that guide my way until my big light bulb moment comes along.


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