There's No Crying in Jiu Jitsu....Right?

1:30 PM Moo 0 Comments

I received an email recently from a girl who *gasp* started crying during training. It said:

I've trained for 8 months. The first gym I was at had lots of female training partners, but now I am one of the only women. I don't mind rolling with men and I'm really a strong girl but recently I cannot deal. I don't want people to baby me but sometimes they roll me too hard. Last training I rolled with a guy who slammed me, not enough that the blackbelt saw but enough that it really shook me and it was obvious he didn't know his own strength. Then he rolled me into a wall and seems to target me every time we roll. I walked off of the mat crying and that's not normally something I do. There are a few guys who go really hard on me and I have cried a couple of times. It seems like once I started crying I couldn't stop. I really am serious about jiu jitsu and I swear I'm not a pussy, but it's stressful. Have you cried? Is that normal?  I don't want people to not take me seriously or my professor to think I'm a baby.

First, let me say you are not a baby because you are crying.  We have strong emotions about things that we really care about. Sometimes the things that I love the most are also the things that frustrate me the most. That being said, I have cried, actually in a very similar situation. There was a man I used to roll with, who would shove me all over the place- he'd throw me, roll extra hard and one day I just left the room and cried...and I felt really stupid. I had to step back, re-evaluate the situation and realize, he was going so hard because maybe he saw me as a threat. I was good enough that his ego felt  fragile and threatened and for me that was very powerful. Now whether this was true or not, I'll really never know, but it helped me keep calm when I rolled with him, assured me that my ability was where it needed to be, made me focus on the skills I did have and allowed me to do more than just survive the roll.

Second. What is your relationship like with your professor? Is it someone you are close with? Is this person a problem only for you? Is it all of the time? Ask your professor to keep an eye on the roll and he or she can probably give you their insight on the situation.

Next, if you are rolling with someone who constantly makes you feel unsafe-simple- stop rolling with them. You can usually tell the difference between a person who is a little spastic and nervous and a person who is spastic, out of control and likely to injure you. There is a good possibility that you are not the only person who feels that way. There is no shame in stopping a roll if a person has no control. Ever heard the saying "you are not the most important person on the mat, your training partner is?" Maybe he has forgotten this. If he is constantly  injuring or making you feel unsafe feel free to tell your professor you'd prefer not to roll with him.

Also, I cried a few times when I felt I reached a plateau. In fact, around 8 or 9 months I felt like I was constantly peaking and plateauing and then I stayed stagnant for a long time. This created tons of frustration which manifested itself in different ways- one was being a cry baby (although I made sure to leave the mat because honestly no one wants to be the crying kid. HAHA!) If it happens occasionally don't worry about it, Jiu Jitsu is hard. It is designed to make you quit, but there is a reason that you have not. Focus on your strengths and develop on your weaknesses. A friend and training partner of mine, Jes, suggested writing down 2-3 things you want to improve on monthly.Figure out new ways to do things. If it were easy everyone would do it. Take comfort in that. I would say you are just passionate about what you're doing. You will figure it out. You will roll and you won't lose, you'll only learn.