In this morning’s BJJ class, I got to work with Brian for part of the drilling as well as roll with him during open mat… always a valuable learning experience. It’s a bit of an exercise in frustration because he’s really, really good. When I first joined this school, he was being a gentleman and letting me get a few things on him. Then one day all of a sudden he seemed to decide it was time to ramp it up. He abruptly became much rougher and didn’t let me have an inch…. he hasn’t let up since. I’m not sure if that was the point at which he decided I was going to stick around and not be one of those come-and-go newbies, and was worth his effort… or if he decided I wasn’t going to burst into tears if he knocked me down, so he could take the gloves off… or what. I just try to survive with him, as long as I can, which isn’t long, but it’s longer than it was at the beginning. He’s good about explaining stuff, and being patient with my slowness. I’m really lucky to have a mentor like that. I want to be Brian when I grow up.
I still haven’t quite wrapped my brain around the fact that when he was finished wiping the mat with me, I went to pick up my belt off the floor and found two new stripes on it…. so that’s all I’ll say about that right now. (I suggested to SK that perhaps Rodrigo had decided that this would be a nice morning to fortify his breakfast OJ with a fifth of scotch…. I just don’t know….)
In tonight’s BJJ class, I was happy to see Bianca… a new student from Brazil, two stripe white belt, with whom I worked a bit two months ago and haven’t seen since. I was afraid she’d quit, so it was a nice surprise. She is only a bit taller than me and a similar weight, which is a big deal, because there is a serious lack of students anywhere near my size in this school. She’s an awesome practice partner for me because we seem to be pretty evenly matched for sparring. She has more skill with subs than I do… this is an area that I will need to start beefing up…. I have been concentrating largely on position and defending, since I have been working almost exclusively with people who are larger and more experienced than I am. I seem to be a bit better at positioning than she… we spent considerable time tonight with me mounted on her or with her in my side control. We seem to give each other helpful feedback, which you don’t always get with every training partner. There is a bit of a language barrier, and we occasionally have to resort to pantomime (tonight’s pantomime was me trying to explain a "squirt" water bottle). The instructor often coaches her while we’re rolling, which I did point out to her is not exactly fair play because they are speaking Portugese. I hope I get to work with her more in the future.
I’m pleased that I dragged myself to two classes today and stayed for open mat after both of them.