One of my Student's Journeys from White to Blue Belt! I am very inspired with Jiu-Jitsu, at the moment. This January, I will have been training for two years. I can't believe it has been that long and how much of that time I have spent hating Jiu-Jitsu. The reason I started Jiu-Jitsu was due to fear after being assaulted. I did not leave the house for a week after the assault. How could this happen to me? Why did I let this happen to me? I blamed myself, a lot. I thought I needed a gun, pepper spray, a tazer, or all three. I confided this in someone and they told me that if I was attacked I would not have time to grab any of the aforementioned items. He was right. By the time I realized I was in danger, the assailant had both my wrists and I could not free them. When he did let go it was to break a wine glass on my face. Who would have seen that coming?
One of the first things I did, when I finally felt safe enough to leave the house was go to Lutter's GYM. I talked to Erin about signing up for self-defense class. The following week, I went to my first class with Bobby. I had no idea what I was doing, to say the least. Bobby went over basic stuff then sent me in the cage with Pedro to work on take downs. I had no real desire to take anyone down. I tried to stay positive, listen, and keep going. I do not know how many times Bobby and Pedro had to assure me that they are professionals. I can tell you right now that the reason I kept going is Bobby and Pedro's reassurance and support. This support I quickly began to feel from Bobby's whole class and from the advanced class, once I started there. They were patient, understanding, and above all professional. I can't remember the first time I told people at the GYM that I was assaulted. I think it was the first team meeting with Bobby. What I was not open about at all was that sometimes I would relive the attack in class. Think about things I should have done differently or play out different scenarios in my head. This is why I hated class but I knew that Jiu-Jitsu was what I had to do to protect myself and feel safe, so I kept going. Since I began, I have had to keep reminding myself that this is not about stripes, belts, or winning tournaments. I did not realize this until recently, but my experience has been about my coaches and teammates helping me establish healthy and safe boundaries again. If I am submitted or even just feel uncomfortable during training, I can tap. The simple tap has become a metaphor for healthy and safe boundaries in other areas of my life.
Last month I received my blue belt! I was very excited, although I would have been fine holding onto a white one a little longer. After the first week with my Blue Belt, I was very frustrated. Sometimes after I rolled, I thought "Why the hell did they give me a blue belt!" Apparently, the Blue Belt does not have any magical powers that dramatically improve your game-shocking. After I got over the initial shock of being a Blue Belt, I began to really think about my game. I asked questions and watched. For the first time I have started to look at Jiu-Jitsu with wonder instead of fear. I view this as a sign of healing. I often hear that being a white belt is all about survival. I feel this is very fitting because I consider myself a survivor.