I’m snaking this idea from Tangled Triangle: 21 Days of Improvement. This will be in addition to regular articles, which means that 2-3 days a week this month there will be two articles. It’s good to stretch as a blogger, and there has been lots of feminist talk and sexist talk and sucky ads, so I want to share some of my love affair with Jiu Jitsu with you over the rest of October. I hope to have a few more blogging challenges for myself, to be revealed over time.

The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body. – George A Sheehan

1/21 Improvements from BJJ: Body Awareness

Before starting jiu jitsu, I had very little body awareness. There’s a phenomenon called “Propioception,” which is the sense of body positioning – knowing what your body is doing. When I started, I had zero sense of what I was doing or what was happening. I would do something wrong, a teammate would say “That’s wrong – it’s THIS” and show me, I would literally have no clue what I had done – “Isn’t that what I was doing??” If you said “Right hand move to their left hip, I would have to stop and puzzle out what you were talking about. And a teacher getting frustrated with me would piss me off. Please believe me – I already felt stupid enough without the extra added outside frustration.

It’s something that far more coordinated teachers should watch out for in “bodily stupid” students. It may be that they literally have no idea what you’re talking about. Or they THINK they are doing it correctly.

Fast forward to today and I can better picture how to perform moves. I still help scaffold my own learning by physically going through the motions as I am shown the moves (sort of shadow jiu jitsu), but I often can get it without doing that. I can also adjust much more easily, and I can often figure out what’s gone wrong. It’s such a cool feeling – being aware of what my body is doing or not doing. It’s a new feeling for me – a physical skill I developed in the past 3 years. Yay for jiu jitsu!

Jiu Jiu’s Question: How has your body awareness grown? Is it something that was well developed before you started BJJ (or whatever sport)?