Remember in the Harry Potter movies how Hermione would study really hard, then get great grades, then review the test questions, beat herself up over the one wrong answer? That’s my friend Amanda. She prepped so hard for the US Grappling tournament in Raleigh, then right after she won her matches, she would immediately review her tournament footage. Then on our way home, she reviewed it again.

Hermione: head of the class and well deserved

Hermione: head of the class and well deserved

Now remember Ron Weasley? He usually went to class, but hated studying, didn’t want to study, and would do last minute prep, then often be thrilled with his C? Oh, and would occasionally get really irritated with Hermione for continuing to talk about the one question she missed on the test? Yeah, that was me.

Shut up, Hermione.

Shut up, Hermione.

Okay, not quite. I was, however, giving Amanda a bit of a hard time, joking about how she was a teacher’s pet and “OMG relax,” etc. At one point she says “Are you trying to make me feel bad?”

Ron is a dummy.

Ron is a dummy.

To be clear, I’m exaggerating in this post, but I realized that the sentiment was there. My jiu jitsu is not awesome, and usually I’m alone or on the Internet, with only other people google searching “Why do I suck at jiu jitsu.” Essentially I’m usually trying to cheer myself up, cheer other people up, or commiserate. I lost every single one of my matches, and while I can personally say “Woo hoo I met my goals,” or “Hey, I won by showing up” or “Well, Self, you gave it your best,” the reality is I did not win. Amanda won. She won 8 matches, taking gold in both her division and in absolute.

I lost 5 matches out of my 6. The sixth, my partner took me down and I fell on her ankle, injuring her. Yep, I got a gold medal for being clumsy.

Ron's magic vs Hermione's. Yep, I feel you.

Ron’s magic vs Hermione’s. Yep, I feel you, Ron.


A student failed one of my classes last semester. She didn’t do the homework, and she didn’t come to class. When I handed her the paper that said she was failing, she looked surprised. In class I told her: “You are not surprised.”

That’s how my jiu jitsu is, very honestly. I don’t put in extra work, so I don’t get the results. Truthfully, I haven’t WANTED to put in extra work. I haven’t been surprised at the results, but I’m not happy with them, either. Going into the tournament, I was unprepared. I did not have a game plan. I did not have an answer to what to do if X Y or Z happen. I just went in and Ron Weasley’d it. “Nah, not ready for the test, but whatevs. Let’s see how I do. Oh hey, I got a D+.”


Although I Weasley’d it, I was not disappointed. My goals were not to win. They were to show some improvement, to stay calm, and to BRING THE INTENSITY. The last one is difficult for me. I did it, though!


Left to right: Gabby, Ashley, Jiu Jiu (me)!


Match 1, nogi intermediate, middle heavy. Jiu Jiu vs Ashley. Loss, 0-11.

It went to time. I was stuck under her. She didn’t submit me, which was miles better than the 45 second round at my last tournament!


Match 2, nogi intermediate. Jiu Jiu vs Gabby. Loss, 2-22.

This time I DID something. I did something that the judges thought was good. I was proactive! That’s better.


Match 3, nogi intermediate, absolute. Jiu Jiu vs Ashley. Loss, 0-9.

My first partner scored fewer points against me this round!


Match 4, blue belt. Jiu Jiu vs Gabby. Loss to Ezekiel choke.


Match 5, blue belt. Jiu Jiu vs Ashley. Loss to cross-collar choke.


Left to right: Jiu Jiu (me), Ashley, and Gabby.

Left to right: Jiu Jiu (me), Ashley, and Gabby.


My emotions: I haven’t yet watched them. Thinking about watching them makes me feel a bit fragile. It’s sort of along the lines of feeling you suck, and then watching yourself suck. On some level it feels a bit like empirical proof that I’m not good. It doesn’t help that during one of my nogi matches, a black belt coach behind me said to his student something like “See that, just basic jiu jitsu. She’s doing nothing.” I’m the example of what not to do.

I'll just be here in my bed, eating ice cream.

I’ll just be here in my bed, eating ice cream.

My thoughts: Yes, I will watch them when I feel ready to do it. I want to learn from them. I’m in jiu jitsu for the long run, and once I’m mentally ready to put in the work, I will improve. I just haven’t been there yet. I also know that tournaments are ROUGH, but they’re worth doing. I feel like the overall benefit outweighs the negative. I am really proud of myself for getting out there. Also, please remember that friends and family can hear what you’re saying, especially if you are saying something critical about the person.

Bonus picture:

Amanda and Jiu Jiu! This gal is AMAZINGLY AWESOME. Also, she's Hermione.

Amanda and Jiu Jiu! This gal is AMAZINGLY AWESOME. Also, she’s Hermione.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: Are you a Ron Weasley or a Hermione? Or somewhere in between? Do you expect your results or are they a surprise to you? Do you like your results? Also, a huge thank you to US Grappling! More on them a bit later!