When push comes to shove…

Anger.

Being a rather ‘emotionless’ person – as my familiy would probably describe me as, I don’t frequently experience anger. In fact, I can’t recall a time I’ve ever been truly angry during an athletic pursuit. That being said, most of my past competitive sports have been individual sports. Competitive swimming, dragonboat racing and even rowing are all competitive sports where even though there may be other teams racing against you, your greatest opponent is yourself.

Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has taught me about the human condition, about how people change, and express themselves particularly on the mat, or traditionally – dojo.

I had a rather interesting experience that really threw me into a contemplative mood last Friday.

I was at the afternoon class, one of my favourites, as the instructor doesn’t try to kill us during the warmup. He’s actually a big proponent of active stretching which is great right before a bjj class.

My friend, K was in class and being the only two girls we naturally paired up. I remember my first few classes when I first started training were with K. She taught me some valuable lessons about body positioning and staying active. I loved rolling with her because she was a little more aggressive and wasn’t afraid to bring up the intensity with me.

We were working on escapes from side mount and at one point, she had managed to pin one of my arms between our chests. I made a deliberate effort to pull my arm out, elbow first. Unfortunately I actually managed to pretty strong elbow straight to her jaw. She bit her tongue and although there wasn’t much blood, I could tell from her facial expression that it probably hurt quite a bit. I apologized immediately, as it really was an accident.

We set up for another round and she went at 100% intensity on me. She likely outweighs me by at least 30-40lbs, and is much taller and stronger than I am and I’m still unsure whether or not she took an elbow to my head deliberately or accidentally in that round. I shrugged it off and tried not to let it bother me.

She left right after class, and I didn’t get a chance to apologize again, and I’m unsure when I’ll see her in class again.

Perhaps I’m just reading into it, but was she really angry at me? And why was I so bothered by it?

I had spoken to a few friends about it, but in reality I think there’s something about pain that triggers an emotional response. I’ll admit, I don’t know what it’s like to be in that situation (yet?) It’s frustrating to think that people lash out in anger when training. I mean, that defeats the purpose of training. Learning to express and manage your emotions when you’re upset during training should be fundamental to a physical sport such as submission grappling.

 

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About T

A female BJJ practitioner in Toronto, Canada. View all posts by T

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