Okay, I’m a little late with this post, but I have been delightfully preoccupied lately.
The other day I went to my girlfriend’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. Let’s pause and reflect on the layers of awesomeness in that sentence alone. It is like a delicious cake. Okay, let’s move on. Bess has been taking classes for a while and she speaks enthusiastically about how fun they are. Years ago I had taken Wushu, so I had some rudimentary martial arts experience. So when she invited me to come along, I agreed on the condition that she didn’t tie me into a pretzel, hold me above her head and throw me against the back wall. Bess assured me nothing of the kind would happen.
We showed up at the…dojo…gym? I’m not sure if there is a special term for where Jiu-Jitsu takes place. After signing a waiver and suiting up in a gi, I walked out onto the mat with Bess where a demonstration was already underway. I had hoped there would be some kind of intro for complete noobs, but they have you jump right in. Years ago, another version of me would have balked at the very idea of trying out what appeared to be a sport requiring much physical exertion. Also, I would have insisted on an in depth tutorial. But I was with Bess and I trust her and everything seems new again, so why not?
The first half of the class consisted of Bess and I taking turns subduing each other with the new move demonstrated by the instructor. Jiu-Jitsu is all about grappling and choke holds. You’re wrestling around on the ground 95% of the time. I hadn’t really expected that. I thought it might be about self-defense counter moves or something more like karate.
After rolling around for a while, we sat out and watched the second half of the class, which was about sparring. I remarked how everyone wore a disconcertingly impassive expression. Bess explained that each person was deep in thought, considering their next move, like participants in a chess match. There was no aggression or other intense emotions involved. No one wanted to hurt their sparring partner. I never really thought of it in that context. Bess joined in on the sparring. She held her own and looked like she knew what she was doing. I was really impressed!
Ultimately, I decided that Jiu-Jitsu wasn’t my thing, but I’m glad I tried it. It was more an exercise in being open to new things instead of deciding “I am this way” and missing out on opportunities to grow. Also, I want to spend as much time with this girl as possible.