Rollin’ with my Homies

There weren’t any students for the ages 10-15 class at Lincoln BJJ yesterday, so Conan and I rolled until the adult class started, which has happened a few times lately, and I still don’t know what it is about rolling with Conan that makes me feel like I know nothing about Jiu-Jitsu! I think part of it has to do with the fact that he was my main Jiu-Jitsu instructor for the first three and a half years of my training, so I’m fully aware that he knows way more than me, but it’s not just that. He has a slow, methodical approach, and a calm confidence that can be unnerving. When I roll with Conan, I over-think every little detail, until I often end up not doing anything!

Lone biker of the apocalypseI know I’m not the only person Conan has this effect on. Amy, our “Ethridge Jiu-Jitsu Class” teacher at the dojo, also trained under Conan, and she says when she rolls with him, she’s thinking things like “I should do this, but that’s probably what he expects me to do, so maybe I should do that. But what if that is really what he wants me to do, and it’s a trap!” Yeah well, from what I’ve been able to figure out…it’s all a trap! Just don’t do anything!

Normally when I’m grappling, I don’t get much time to think, because as a smaller person, I have to always keep moving, When I roll with Conan, he purposely makes me slow down, so that I can form the necessary mind-body connections. While this is awesome for my training, sometimes I feel confused about what I should do, because BJJ is so complicated, there are so many choices, and I’m more used to just reacting.

Conan often tries to teach me something new during these rolling sessions, and I’m usually thinking “Why are you telling me this, I will never remember it!”, but I’ve recently found out I was wrong about that, I have been remembering the things he’s been showing me! Yesterday was particularly awesome, because Greg was also coaching me for part of the time Conan and I were rolling, so I got a lot of personalized help (even though having Greg watching us made it doubly nerve-wracking ;). Conan and Greg could’ve just rolled with each other and ignored me the whole time, but they didn’t.

I’ve also had the privilege of drilling with Greg and Jerad on the rare occasions when no students show up for the kids’ class, and I feel incredibly lucky when I get these kind of extra training sessions (even though sometimes I’m already worn out by the time the advanced class starts!). I know that someday soon the youth classes are going to be packed every day, so I won’t have these opportunities anymore (and that will actually make me even happier!), but I feel really blessed to have had them.

Me-“What did I do wrong?”

Greg- “In this case, it’s more about what Conan did right.”

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