Yesterday started out good. Johnny and I went to train with Tatiana, who is a brown belt under her husband Rey Diogo. Rey is a black belt under Carlson Sr., my instructor who passed away earlier this year. Carlson was like a father to Rey, so I am part of Rey and Tatiana’s extended family. I have visited them a few times since I’ve been in LA, but not as much as I could have; it’s just been so convenient to wake up, roll off the couch, and get on the mat that’s on the other side of the wall.
But last week Tatiana got in touch with me to see if I wanted to train a few times. She wasn’t at the academy any of the times I have visited in the past couple months, but I remember several years ago, back when I was a blue belt and she was a purple, that she schooled me pretty much, and that I enjoyed it. So the three of us did round robin sparring for a little while and it was a lot of fun. I love sparring with both Johnny and Tatiana, so I was in a good mood.
The problems started when I decided, again against my gut feeling, to train at night. Since I’m competing on Saturday, now is the time, theoretically, to taper down on the training. That thought crossed my mind as I was putting on my gi, as did the thought, “I don’t really feel like training.” But sometimes I feel that way and am glad I power through it; sometimes those feelings preface some of my best training sessions.
No such luck this time. We were working on a sweep you can pull off any time your opponent is standing in your guard. So you can jump guard, or your opponent can stand up to try to pass, and this sweep works. Theoretically. Okay, I was drilling the technique with a guy who is probably about 30 pounds heavier than I am, and okay, it requires hip movement that I don’t come by naturally, but I got so incredibly frustrated when I couldn’t pull it off that I wanted to punch somebody. But that class is only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I removed myself from the situation before I did something stupid.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just that I couldn’t do the technique; that was probably just the icing on the cake. I’m also wigging about leaving LA. It’s still scary even though I keep repeating—ad nauseam—that it’s the right thing to do, because it raises all kinds of existential questions, makes me worry about money even though I’m fine for now, and brings out the loneliness. So not being able to do the technique is actually the least of my worries, but it was the lightning rod. When I excused myself from class, I yanked off my gi top, grabbed my water bottle, and walked around the neighborhood for about an hour, wearing just my gi pants and my rash guard, and crying off and on. I actually also considered getting a hotel room so I could be alone, but I ended up just going back to the academy, where the guys asked me if I was okay and also made the “turn on the waterworks” motion with their fists in front of their eyes. (There’s really no crying in jiu jitsu.)
I’m also cranky because I am gaining weight. I’m up to 143 or 144 from 140. And this past winter I was about 135. I think I was too thin at 135, but 140 felt right. People keep saying it’s probably muscle because I’ve been working out so much, but it’s the same premise as when people say they’re big boned: if that’s true, I must have a huge stomach bone. Gaining and losing weight isn’t as big a deal when you train because you’re constantly trying to make weight and then getting to eat again once you have made weight, but I still don’t feel right with the extra pounds. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from eating.
So I was apprehensive about training with Tatiana today, not because of her but because I am a moody spaz. But it turned out to be great. Johnny couldn’t make it, so we did 8-min rounds on our own interspersed with lots of chatting. Somehow I always make high-ranking women talk to me about what it’s like to be a high-ranking woman. My rank isn’t that high, but I have been in BJJ for a while, long enough to feel at various points like I wish there were more women; sometimes it’s just nice to have some estrogen in the mix. In fact, we took a picture showing our Team Estrogen patches, which I will post eventually.
It was good for both of us, because I’m headed back there tomorrow. Then in the afternoon I’ll go to the weigh-in for the Saturday tourney and meet up with Jimmy for lunch (he had to cut weight so he’ll be hungry) and then to go to the press conference for Sub X. Sub X is a submission grappling event that will feature lots of big names in grappling. So we’ll go watch world-class grapplers sign autographs and answer questions, and then we’ll go watch them grapple.
Okay, tired and hungry. Pictures tomorrow!