We've had a number of promotions happen in our adult Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program this summer! Brennan Strimple was promoted to purple belt, Chris Smith was promoted to 4th stripe Blue Belt, and Leigh Strimple was promoted to Blue Belt. Many of our newer students also earned their first or second stripes on their white belts.
In honor of Valentines Day, I'm going to rant about a topic plaguing the martial arts community: LOVE.
Maybe some of you are lucky and have a supportive partner. Some of you are not lucky. I know many of you need to fight, argue, and negotiate in order to train. I've also known many martial artists who quit because their partner wouldn't let them continue training. Despite being a martial artist myself... I get it!
Classes almost always take place during the evening, which is prime date/dinner/after work time. Unlike other sports that have a season, martial arts are ongoing. For those of you training in BJJ, I can only imagine how explaining THAT must go down. Plus the martial arts are far more time consuming than an average trip to the gym. Start throwing in seminars, tournaments, extra training sessions, and even the most easy-going of partners might start getting jealous for your time.
So how do we maintain healthy relationships while still being able to train?
My first suggestion is to get your partner involved. Now this can be easier said then done. I'll have another post on just that. But there are many ways to help your partner feel involved besides getting them training with you. Invite her or him to come watch. Tell them how happy it would make you to have them there. That's a good start, and who knows? They may actually want to try it themselves.
Try merging a date into training. Invite your significant other to watch or try the class, then take them out for dinner, a movie, coffee, etc. Perhaps offer to leave early if you need to.
Look at ways to coordinate with your partner. This might look like scheduling your classes on the same nights he/she has an activity. Then you can always plan to meet before or after.
Communicate with your partner. Sometimes there might be something minor and stupid that makes your partner not want you to train. I remember one person who was a pacifist and had issues with her partner participating in something so violent. Issues like this can be cleared up with some communication and education on the martial arts.
I'm not a relationship expert or a psychologist. But in my own humble opinion, I don't think someone who truly cares about you would pressure you to quit something you love. That being said, it might take some compromise to work out your training time and relationship time. I'm very lucky to have found someone who shares my passion for martial arts, but even Brennan and I have had disagreements on training.
Happy Valentines day! <3
Are you confused in Jiu-Jitsu? Or Aikido? Or Karate?
That's okay, we all are. Or at one point we all were. These aren't easy things to understand. It takes time, and lots of practice. Here are some tips:
1. Record Classes
Ask permission first, but most instructors won't have a problem with it. Recording the explanation of the techniques for reference later can help a lot. It can also help to watch yourself. You may pick up on things you didn't realize you were doing.
2. Keep a Notebook
Writing and reflecting after classes also helps you retain and process things. Again, this gives you a reference to look back on.
3. Ask for Help
Don't be afraid to ask for help. This can be done before, during, or after classes. Instructors are always happy to help explain things to you, and it helps us refine our teaching skills.
Finally, the fun part of class is here: Battle Time! The chance to practice all those sweet moves on a resisting and unsuspecting opponent! You picture yourself landing those triangles, throwing on armbars, wiping the sweat from your brow triumphantly while your opponent shakes off their defeat- Oh, except you get partnered up with the 300 pound ex football lineman. The dude with the neck that is literally stronger than your right leg.
Battling bigger people can suck. But it can also be a great learning experience. More on that later. This post is about why you shouldn't get discouraged about the suck.
One thing that helps keep things in perspective for me is the Boyd Belt System. This means that for every twenty pounds someone has on you, it equals a belt rank. So if you're rolling with someone who outweighs you by forty pounds, it is the same as fighting someone two belt ranks higher than you. So don't get discouraged if you're not tapping people out who are bigger than you- even if you are the same rank. This doesn't mean you'll never manage to win your matches. As you get more experience things will start to level out.
We had a student in Aikido who was tiny, we had to order a child size uniform for her. Yet she always went with the biggest guy in class. I really appreciated that mentality. You can learn a lot from trying - AND - failing against bigger people.
Personally, I'm okay embracing the suck and learning what I can from having my techniques fail on bigger opponents. Someday those techniques won't fail, and that will be a gloriously awesome day.
When Sensei Leigh and Sensei Brennan aren't training, we're keeping you updated on the happenings here at Rochester Phoenix Martial Arts!