Many things are different in my Jiu-Jitsu training from when I first started (my school, my instructor, my style), but one thing that has remained the same is my coach Amy. She was a purple belt in the Jiu-Jitsu class at the SRSK dojo when I started training, then her work schedule changed, and she wasn’t able to attend the regular classes anymore (so most of the LBJJC students who came from the dojo don’t even know her!). At about the same time, Amy began teaching a women’s Jiu-Jitsu class once a week, and I started going to it (as well as attending the regular classes).
My daughter and I were essentially the only students in the women’s class, since the other Jiu-Jitsu women from the dojo never attended. Although we did have several new students through the years, and some stayed for short lengths of time, when the class officially ended, it was back to Amy just teaching Skyler and I.
When my daughter went off to college, the women’s class turned into “Ethridge class”, as my husband began going with me instead. Although I now train at Lincoln BJJ Center, we continue Ethridge class at the dojo on Sundays, but it’s not a formal class anymore, and it’s mostly focused on Joe and I doing positional grappling, while Amy coaches us.
We call it Ethridge class, but these days it’s really all about me. Sometimes we teach Joe new things, but he’s actually just there to support me, and he doesn’t have much of an interest in training Jiu-Jitsu outside of that class, so we usually just focus on weaknesses in my game. Amy has even been letting me chose exactly what we practice lately, and I feel spoiled for having both of them keep showing up just to help me!
Amy is also a brown belt in Judo, so on the first Sunday of the month we have Throwing Sunday, and on the last Sunday we practice no-gi. In addition, Amy works in law enforcement, and we often discuss self-defense, so I get a little bit of everything with her! She enjoys giving me tons of shit, but I usually deserve it, and we have a lot of fun in Ethridge class, because we’re all a little silly. However, if you’re going to hang around with Amy, you need to have a strong stomach, because she talks about dead bodies more often than is necessary, and she’s the only person who’s ever sent me a text saying “I won’t be there, I’m planning a murder.” I guess I should explain that she also teaches a class in forensic science at Wesleyan University.
I’m lucky to have a friend and coach like Amy, who has been supporting me from the very beginning of my Jiu-Jitsu training. She’s even driven to Omaha several times to coach me in tournaments, when I didn’t have anyone else (except my family!). Amy was also a great role model for my daughter during the years that she trained with us, and I’ll always treasure that time we had together. Amy and I have known each other for five years now, and it’s been nothing but a good time (except for all of the throwing! ;).