No more secrets

Since starting BJJ I have no more secrets. You know, those things that women are absolutely renowned for having, I have no longer. Still not sure what I’m talking about? Age and weight.

I was born in 1976. I’ll let you do the math. I know I look young. This is me taken in 2010:

Me and Masha

I’m around 10 years older than the gal on the left

Why disclose my age? I do it partly because I am proud that even after 30 I have decided to get off my butt and get into a BJJ gym. I do it partly because I want to be able to say “It’s never too late.” I do it partly because I do get treated better when people realize I’m not 25. To be fair, I’ve always been free with the age reveal, and partly because I do teacher trainings and when everyone thinks they’re WAY older than you the class has a very different feel to it.

This one is a first for me. I’ve never been one to talk about my weight. I always get that “OMG” look when I tell people my weight because “you don’t look THAT heavy.” I weight 92 kilos, or right around 203 lbs.

Me just after starting BJJ

Since starting BJJ I’ve started sharing that weight. Why? Partly because when you start to do tournaments you have weight divisions. Okay, with women I’m just in the “heavy” as the heaviest weight division is often 160+lbs, which I know gives me a huge leeway, but it also does make a difference when you’re partnering up with someone. 20 lbs can make a big difference, let alone 50 or 60, and often there’s even a bigger difference in weight between me and the other girl.

The other reason I’ve started sharing is to be more accountable to myself. If I feel free to talk about it, perhaps people will be encouraging. Perhaps people will ask me how the weight loss is coming. I started my BJJ journey as a way to lose weight/size. By sharing that weight/size it helps me lose a lot of the shame feelings that come when you are hiding something.

You may scratch your head and decide that that’s not something to share, but I’m all about helping out women in BJJ, which means talking about how a certain size gi fits my certain sized body. I’m short and squatty, and by sharing my measurements I can help other women who may be similarly sized find something that fits. Again, some of that is related to taking the shame away from talking about your body in a very practical, realistic way.

FYI: I don’t feel bad about how I look (usually–though when I look at the back of my legs I do feel terrible). I love myself, but I want to be a better me. A healthier me. A me that fits into much smaller pants. ๐Ÿ™‚

So there you have it: my “secrets.” I wonder how many other women in BJJ freely share their age/weight with a) their rolling partners b) their BJJ school c) the Interwebz! What secrets do YOU share?

  1. Hmm – this isn’t so much a secret, but a weird hang-up I have that BJJ somehow manages to completely circumvent. I really don’t like people touching me, especially when people I don’t know all that well (like friends of friends) greet me with a big hug. It makes me very uncomfortable. Sames goes for touchy-feely people. My friends generally know that I feel way happier with a simple handshake. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    For some reason, I have absolutely no problems when the context changes, and I’m in much closer proximity for extended periods in BJJ class. Strange.

  2. a) yep, if it comes up.
    b) Isn’t this the same as a?
    c) nope. I share too much on the web as it is.
    I’m also heavier than I look. The highlight of this is when I was rolling with a visitor to my school who was about my weight and ability. I guess I must have had him by 5 or 10 pounds, because the instructor was watching us and kept telling the guy to use speed to overcome a larger opponent. The look on the visitor’s face was priceless. He obviously wasn’t expecting that advice.

    • I feel like a) and b) are a little different. When you share with someone you roll with it is like confiding in them. If you let your whole school in it is open for discussion. Also, it may be different for me since I’m newer, but I don’t roll with everyone. Of course if you’ve been at your school a long time it is very likely you know everyone, they know you, etc. So for a newcomer a & b are VERY different, but for someone who has made a home there they are likely the same.

  3. Yes to A and B.

    And I totally get the whole looking at the backs of your legs thing, I have been much heavier (~40 pounds) than I am now (yay BJJ, and a lot of hard work). I grapple no-gi in leggings because I don’t want shorts to ride up and show off the thighs. (Crazy because I am now in much smaller pants, oh well).

  4. Everyone at my school knows my weight. We freely discuss weight, especially before comps ๐Ÿ™‚ Age is talked about, but less so. I’m the oldest, and it doesn’t freak me out.

    Discussing vital stats at school is normal. For that matter, it really doesn’t bother me if the whole world knows. I’ve mentioned my weight and age on my blog. As there are competition results on the web, people would get a fair idea anyway. Couldn’t care less.

    @Slidey: That’s exacly how I feel. In normal life it’s ‘eeeww’ if someone steps into my (large) personal space, and I’ve always felt awkward hugging friends/family. On the mats, different story. Bring in any sweaty strange bloke or woman, big or small and we’ll be doing some big time hugging before you can say Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I don’t feel the slightest bit strange about that ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m 33, and 125 pounds nekked. Everyone is surprised by both these factoids because I look way younger, and apparently have retard strength for my size. A lot of the gals where I train obsess over their weight. I do to, but I try to put on weight. BJJ has helped me become more comfortable with my body, which is something that men struggle with too, although maybe not as openly.

    • Yeah, I don’t think men are used to sharing concerns about their weight, but they definitely come to the fore due to the aforementioned weight divisions in tournaments. Even though I don’t compete, I have in the past popped on the scales when everyone else was checking they were on course for their target, and got annoyed when I found I was a couple of kgs over what I see as ‘my’ weight (64/65kg). That immediately results in “hmm, maybe I won’t have that extra cheese sandwich/chocolate bar/tub of ice cream.” ๐Ÿ˜‰