Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the one thing that I have tossed around in my own mind as something I need to start. I used to listen to Jocko Willinks podcast quite often and in each one, he talked about training Jiu Jitsu and the lessons that you can get from it. There was just something about what I now know is called drilling, where allowing another man to just sit on my waist or vice versa wasn't something that I was very comfortable with doing. To be honest, I am still not comfortable with the idea of it, but last night was practice number one.
I was actually a little nervous going in. I watched several video's on what to expect day one of starting Jiu Jitsu. One that I was particularly thankful for was a video on some of the etiquette. Things like taking a shower and brushing your teeth before you practice due to the proximity of your training partner. I have avoided starting with several excuses, mainly time, but with hockey season over that was something that was no longer relevant. So I purchased a pair of compressions shorts and a compression shirt, got in the car and headed down for my trial lesson. I had thought, well maybe I am going to get there and the place will be closed because it's Easter Monday. Nope, less people but it wasn't closed.
I really had no idea what to expect. I don't watch MMA or UFC so couldn't even tell you what any of the moves were. It started out with something really familiar...jog around the outside of the mats. Perfect, I got this. Shuffle facing in, shuffle facing out, jog again. Easy. That's when things started. Lets get on the mat and shrimp all the way up, run back and repeat. Shrimping is a tactic that is used to essentially move and create some space when someone is on top of you, or you are trying to get into a position to get them off of you. I think I probably looked awkward, but I got it down to a reasonable level of achievement for day one.
Now, everyone that was in the place other than maybe the instructor was minimum 20 years lighter in face lines than me. So what I did learn when we started drilling (practicing moves) is that agility is not going to be my strength in the coming months. Pure strength is likely not going to be my super power either. In fact, the best thing that I have going for me is my ability to listen. As a mature athlete (according to google), I am very coachable. I will listen and then move slowly through the movements in order to learn them efficiently. I will also listen to myself a little better than a younger me would have. That means that I will tend to ease up before I get hurt. This is why after the drilling, which lasted about an hour came the rolling. Rolling is essentially sparring in boxing terms. Its where you actually try to put into play the drills that you learn.
I took part in the rolling portion from the sidelines last night. It was the first that I have ever seen Jiu Jitsu at all, and up close. Thankfully I listened and took the time to just watch this one. Pretty certain I would have been hurting today if I had just jumped in, but now that I know what to expect I will be able to take things a little more slowly when it comes my turn.
In the end, I finally got to check it off the bucket list and started it. It felt good leaving knowing that I finally jumped in. Very doubtful that I am going to be the next Hoyce Gracie or be taking any skills to any tournaments, but it seems like something that will definitely keep a fella fit. I'm looking forward now to the journey. It's kinda cool to be a rookie again...even a mature one.