I drank the BJJ koolaid, and it tasted blue!

I don’t know why people say Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is hard, because I got a blue belt after training BJJ for only three months! Of course I’m just being silly, but it goes to show that the Jiu-Jitsu program at Roseberry’s dojo (where I trained for the last four years) is comparable to BJJ. However, if I had taken my blue belt test on the first day that I walked into Lincoln BJJ Center, I probably wouldn’t have passed. I’ve learned a lot from Greg Lawson in the past few months.

I was so nervous before testing yesterday, but I managed to stay somewhat relaxed, because I knew if I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be able to remember anything. I did have a few memory lapses, but overall it went better than I was expecting. Greg was telling us what to do, and Tinguinha was writing stuff down after we did the techniques. I tried to not think about what he was writing, because I was afraid it was something like this: She is the worst student I’ve ever seen. There’s no hope for her, Greg should just turn off the lights and lock the doors when he sees her coming. Luckily, I guess that wasn’t the case, since I passed the test.

The funniest moment during my testing was when I was demonstrating the toreando pass, and as Mike sat up to defend, we head-butted, which is exactly what happened with Ken when I earned ten stitches above my eye! Thankfully, this time it was both our foreheads, and it wasn’t nearly as hard, so no blood was shed on either part. Testing took about forty-five minutes total, but afterward I felt like I had rolled for two hours!

Tinguinha & Greg at LBJJ

Mauricio ‘Tinguinha’ Mariano and Greg Lawson at Lincoln BJJ Center

I only made it to the first session of the seminar that Tinguinha taught at LBJJC today, but that’s the one I really wanted to attend, because it was the gi session. We worked on seated/butterfly guard, and then spider guard. The opportunity to train spider guard with the man who developed it was a dream come true for me. His techniques are exactly the kinds of things I need in my arsenal, and it was unbelievable to have him standing in front of me, offering his help. I can’t say I wasn’t a little star-struck, but he is so down-to-earth and friendly that I felt comfortable almost immediately.

My partner for the seminar today was Kori, who went to a few of our women’s Jiu-Jitsu classes at the dojo. She doesn’t have much Jiu-Jitsu training, but she was picking things up well, even though she had never done butterfly or spider guard before. I felt like I was understanding most everything we worked on, and Tinguinha helped me correct some of my details, but overall he was complimentary towards my execution. I think I learned quite a bit, I just hope I can retain it.

After the first session of the seminar was over, we had our belt promotion ceremony. Greg told us he was honored that we were all willing to start over as white belts in order to train under him, but I don’t think any of us ever doubted that it was worth it. When Tinguinha was tying my blue belt around my waist, we were both looking down at first, then he looked up at me, so I looked at him. He smiled and said “Oh, I thought you were crying.” I really can’t believe that I wasn’t, but I think it was because I didn’t want to be too “girly”, so I was trying hard to maintain! That moment was almost overwhelming, looking at Tinguinha as he was tying on my belt. Right then and there I knew that I would never again be able to tell myself that I don’t deserve it.

After we got our belts, Greg told us that the root of the word “passion” is “to suffer”, so if you really love something, you need to be willing to take a little pain. You have to keep going to class, even when you don’t feel like it, and you have to keep pushing, even when you want to quit. If you do that, everything else will eventually fall into place. I’ve always been more focused on the journey than the destination, and I was content as a white belt, but I recently realized that this is the first belt in my entire martial arts career that I’ve ever actually wanted, so right now, I am a happy blue!

LBJJ blue belts

Back row: Ray, Adam, Fuji, Jerad, Will, Josh, Patrick, Conan
Front row: Me, Mike, Tinguinha, Greg, Sara, Chris

Greg, Kori and I at the Tinguinha seminarBlue belt promotion


7 comments on “I drank the BJJ koolaid, and it tasted blue!

  1. It was great training with you today, and thanks for being so patient. I’m sorry it took so long for me to get back! I know you’ll wear that new belt well.

  2. way to go, Gina. i’m glad that i’m not the only one who defends that pass “wrong”. were you trying to match scars over your eyes?

    • Lol, Ken! I think sitting up is the correct way to defend, but you should block with your arm, so I don’t get that close to your head ;). I wasn’t trying to get another scar, but one of my goals is to give everyone in class a concussion. One down, twenty some to go!

  3. Pingback: What’s the margin of error? | On (or close to) Schedule

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