Scylla and Charybdis

Yesterday I grappled with someone I’d never rolled with before, and afterward he must have told me about six times “you are really strong!” I know he was being complimentary, but I couldn’t help but feel like he was leaving off the words “for a chick”. I’m not good with compliments.

Scylla and CharybdisWhat actually bothered me about it was that after I grapple with someone, I would prefer them to say things like “you move really well.”, or “you’re very technical”. My strength should not be the thing they notice. That just means I am still trying to muscle things too much, and despite what he might have thought, I’m not really that strong. He was attempting to wrist lock me, and I spent half of our roll trying to pry his hands off with my one free hand, which was not working at all. Then Ray stopped by and told me to figure out how I could use leverage instead, so I under hooked one of his arms and easily broke his grip, no strength necessary. Without Ray’s input, I would have probably just kept futilely trying to pry his hands off, and ended up tapping out.

So, it seems as though my grappling is still somewhere between a rock and a hard place. The only form of water I am like is a block of ice. I might seem strong at first, but I am easily crushed.


9 comments on “Scylla and Charybdis

  1. While I think you are strong too, I wonder if he didn't just not know how to say you move well. What I mean is your guard is so good that it seems like you are using strength because it is so hard to pass but really I think you are using quick placement of your feet and legs against your opponent's body so well that at first I thought it was strength too but I believe it is a perfect mixture of balance and technique. Anyway, I hope that makes a little bit of sense.

  2. I also thought that might be the case, that he interpreted some of the things I was doing as strength-based, but they were not. I figured out early on that trying to hold those big guys in guard using strength was not going to work for me (and I can't even close my guard on most of them), so I started utilizing more of an open guard game, and like you said- using quick placement of my feet and legs against their body to keep them from passing. This sometimes leads to them getting frustrated, and doing things like, oh…trying to strong arm my tiny wrists while I still have them in guard ;)

  3. I am glad I am not the only one who gets rubbed the wrong way by being told I am strong. It makes me feel the same way… "Was I using strength over technique?" "Was I muscly?" Though, I do think…or at least I hope, it is that men are caught off guard by my having some strength. I think they expect women to be weak. (Jerks! lol) And when we are not, they are shocked.And I wanted to second what Kristy said. Sometimes awesome technique feels like strength. For example… I had a black belt hold me in his guard once… high guard, with my shoulders kind of in it… .and he sat there, laid down on the mat, and put his hand behind his head… and I felt like I was in a bear trap… though he was straining zero. Even KNOWING it was total technique and proper placement, I still though, omg, his legs are so strong. So, don't be put off by it too much.. and even if you were muscly, try not to sweat it… we all can be sometimes… and being strong IS something to be proud of.

  4. I actually have a picture of the thing I was talking about.. lol… he is all calm and relaxed… and I was dying in a bear trap.

  5. Gina, I love to read jiu jitsu stuff. Using leverage, or technique, by definition, to your opponent would feel like force. If I use a lever to left a 200 lbs rock. The rock only feels the 200 lbs of force, it cant feel how much force you really applied. So if an opponent tells you that you are strong, and your not, or wasnt applying alot of force: you were using technique. You earned the compliment, take it (or not, because I'm not telling you what to do). Anyway, Take Care- Eric

  6. Thank you, Eric. I will say that I really didn't think I was using a lot of stength, and my opponent may not have realized that, because he is somewhat inexperienced. So I suppose you could be right :-)

  7. Gina, give yourself a liitle credit. First, most men wont consider jiu jitsu because they are scared, chicken, not men, whatever. It appears your are certainly not scared(and certainly not a man, but hopefully you understand I am slamming wimpy men, or whatever). We have six or so women at my school, however, none, try when I roll with them. I hear, "your too big", or "you've trained longer", they giggle, and give up. I would like to say- please fight me off you like I'm a rapist! I can tell, thats not you. I've seen you roll in tournaments. I have trained with students from your school. You folks have excellant movement.(and its the Judo background!!!). You have my respect. Piece of advice to all- smile when you roll. Inner Peace. Take Care – Eric

  8. Ok, I'm a little speechless (yeah, still not good with compliments ;) but sincerely…Thank You. "I would like to say- please fight me off you like I'm a rapist!", if you ask anyone I grapple with, I would hope that's exactly how they say I roll. I do occasionally giggle, but that's just because I'm having so much fun kicking ass!

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