*or how my physiotherapist friends helped me (further) understand jiujitsu

there is an ad about our jiujitsu team that was released first week of this month and i just realized a few days ago that all the pictures in it are mine! since i’m trying to keep a low profile (so far, so good. hah.), here’s the cropped version:


on my thirteenth session, i brought three friends over to my dojo, two of whom were visiting from Manila (i actually told my coach that i’d make this a regular part of the city tour when my friends come over).

drills while on turtle top. taking the back. submissions from the back.

tried to do the drills the best i could, what with a new gi that seemed to be a little tight for my hips (to think i’m wearing a men’s gi as there are no locally available girl’s gi in my size). gave myself a mental tap on the back for doing knee slice effectively (the hubby joked about a collapsed lung) while i failed miserably at a technique that involved what looked like a back roll to take the back (i simply couldn’t lift my lower limbs long enough to initiate some kind of a turn, the blob that i am. there was actually another drill in which the coach literally had to push me to help me with a cambuleta roll [a side roll of sorts] but let’s not go there).

a teammate tried this back roll but she wouldn’t budge as well, in spite of her generally svelte physique.

“her shoulder was locked, more extended than flexed. it should be protracted or flexed to initiate the roll. when you extend the shoulder, the neck tends to extend as well”, observed one of my friends.

wait, what did she just say?

another drill, this time while on turtle top. move the arm away. pull the body to one side. then take the back. we do this for around one minute each.

“loved that!”, said another friend (a.k.a. sporophyte in the blogosphere) “that’s what i do. you know, elongate one side of the trunk and you facilitate weight shifting towards that side. that’s how you initiate any movement.”

the eff?

all this time, i’ve been trying to figure out how my (limited) knowledge of human movement can help me when i train (i am not a physiotherapist and my expertise – if you can call it that- is identifying and addressing limitations in task performance instead). i’ve only gone as far as thinking i could do something with the head (but what to do with it, not yet). my friends took one look at how jujiteros move and, well, grasped certain important principles, faster than you can say kinesiology and biomechanics. life is not fair, after all.

the hubby and i roll and i found myself under again. i escaped his trap only for him to do this again. this went on and on until he finally got my outstretched arm and pushed it upwards for a submission. while this did not exactly hurt (a previous injury has made some unusual shoulder positions bearable), i had to tap out because i couldn’t figure out how to escape without injuring my shoulder, given how awkward i move sometimes.


the hubby and me during a roll. photo courtesy of sporophyte.

we roll again and this time, tired of always being mounted on, i managed to go on top of the hubby instead as he tried to take me down (the element of surprise was my ally) and i ended up on his back while he was on all fours. but because i have, er, short legs (the hubby was not crouched low enough), i couldn’t reach the mats to stabilize my position. while i was trying to think of a move, the buzzer rang (later, i realized i could have tried to move his body to get his back, much like the drills we practiced earlier).

“your hubby is right. in jiujitsu, you do use the muscles that you normally do not use”, the other friend commented. the hubby’s pre-med course was physiotherapy. imagine the advantage that gives him.

(let me say this again: life. is. effing. unfair.)

sporophyte adds, as a word of advice: “if you want to get away from a lockdown, you just have to find a way to shift or elongate your body, and then rotate. that’s how you move out of any position.”

and while i know there are many ways to get out of a mount or a hold or a position where one seems to be at a disadvantage, the fact that she figured out a way that can work, just like that, is amazing.

now, if only i can convince them to join me on the mats (or at the very least, to get them to join the mats, wherever they are). wishful thinking, i know.

(meanwhile, i think i need another break to get my bearings back. lol.)


3 thoughts on “clueless*

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