*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.)


jiujitsu actually*

been off the mats for more than two weeks as life got in the way of training. hubby has been busy and while he can train without me, he prefers that he is there when i do (ain’t marriage grand?)

let me fill the gap with these instead: shots of a teammate and three of my coaches in their winning matches. these are grainy though as i had no lens and only zoom function to work with.

dumau competition. cebu city. october 2015. canon powershot s3. black and white.


Coach Jf, left, preparing for a submission


Coach Jg, bottom, going head-to-head with a larger opponent


Coach P, top, setting up his game


Sir D, submitting his opponent while upside down

a week in the life: saturday

Saturdays are for work longer than one hour (hooray for that). Four hours to be exact.


Saturdays are for an unexpected discovery. That the yellow Duplo piece that has been missing from this particular stack has been in another building block container all along. This has confirmed what I have always believed: that sorting is not a very common skill among many. Seriously.


Saturdays are for mulling things over.

Where I am now, there are only a handful of us who do the kind of work that I do (maybe less than 10) to answer the needs of the whole of Northern Mindanao.

I have yet to learn the dialect and can only understand basic words and phrases. But nuances of human behavior that suggest denial, fear, anxiety, hope, acceptance, and faith are universal. In my practice, recognizing these is as essential as a clinical impression, delay in development, or limitation in function.

Ah, but all this thinking has left me tired (aside from a three-hour break before my last hour of work). And so Saturday is for a cozy nap on the couch. Hehe.


Saturdays are for more hands on time with the little guy. This means making him eat dinner, giving him a half bath, and putting him to sleep. Of the three, it is the last that is the hardest as he would try anything and everything to keep himself from falling asleep (I would have to agree that he did not get that from me).

And Saturday ends as quietly as it started.



a week in the life: friday

Friday started with news that bitch slapped me hard. Perhaps this is the reason I kept myself busy today (and was only able to take pictures by midday).

Fridays are for trying out new things. Lunch (and dinner) was a chicken-potato-carrot-mushroom mix I made for the first time. It tasted fine although the hubby said it was bland (oh yes, he did). This is why I have all these domestic issues.


Friday is for work that started at 4 pm and ended at 5 pm (no typo error there). But, hey, don’t I look happy in that selfie? Work does that. It keeps the craziness at bay.


The little one comes to visit me at exactly 5 pm.


This is what I find on my clothes when we get home.


Fridays are for chilling out.


For a little bit of work and for chores.

And for time out a few minutes later. Hah.


And that is how we roll on a Friday.


a week in the life: thursday

The story of today is that I ran out of coffee (and the world stood still).

The story of today is that I let my angst hang heavily on my shoulders, as we drove around town and went on some errands.

The story of today is that my husband’s idea to make me feel better is to bring me to the mall.

To watch a movie (I sneaked a selfie in the restroom).


To look for a dress for next week’s event.

To buy some groceries where, interestingly enough, I find an ad in the vernacular (and, yes, I did buy some coffee).


We go home to find the little one glued to the computer. The story of today is that he kept on telling me he loved me as I sat beside him while he watched his favorite show, like he knew I needed to hear this.


To quote Finnick Odair, “it takes ten times more strength to pull one’s self together than to fall apart” (or something like that). And so the story of today is that I should perhaps just grin and bear it. Simply because where I am is where I need to be.


a week in the life: wednesday

Truth be told, Wednesday is my favorite day.

I woke up today with a skip in my step. Because I had to limp as the toddler sat on my foot, full weight, yesterday. A reminder of my age and weight (and his as well).

Wednesday is the toddler’s turn to sleep in. Unusual really that it is almost 8 am and he is not out of bed yet.


Wednesday is the day that I venture out to work a bit early which, in reality, is just 36 steps away from our house. With the little one in tow, of course.


Wednesdays are for obsessing over little things.

Like consistency.


And order.


Wednesdays are for a little father and son bonding that usually involves rough play.


Wednesday is for driving around town that is nearly deserted at 9 pm to look for ice cream. Because I realized that it will take time for me to adjust to this new life.

I find it in a little silver can. For a brief moment, I let it drown my sadness away.


And that is how I would like my Wednesday to end.