Part of me worries about appearing like a newbie know-it-all. So I definitely don’t try to post from a super matter-of-fact place. I also recognize that people could feel like “awwww, pat the newbie on the head; she still has a crap ton to learn.”

So if I appear that way, please call me on it, because I definitely don’t mean to. I’m still in the shallow end of the pool here.

But, that said, I am absolutely shocked at how much BJJ has changed my life in only two months.

1) Television. Before this I was a prolific tv watcher. And when I say prolific, it was not an exaggeration to say that I watched 30-40 hours per week. In fact, I called myself “Prestige Class: TV Fangirl.” Since starting BJJ I am shocked if I watch 2 hours per week. I only recently started copying episodes of Sopranos onto my iTouch and watching episodes on the subway going to work. But when I’m at home I RARELY watch television. I’m always on the BJJ forums. πŸ™‚

2) Femininity. I lived in Ukraine for two years with Peace Corps, and while I was there I redefined what it meant for me to feel feminine. When I completed my service in November 2009, I found myself wearing makeup every day, wearing heels to work, even wearing fake eyelashes. I loved it. Now I wear makeup that I think will be easy to remove before class, wear clothes that will be easy to change in and out of, and I’ve even removed the permanent ear piercings I’d been wearing since 2001. I go home on the metro, covered in sweat and looking like I’d, well, rolled around on a mat with a bunch of dudes.

3) Exercise. Before this I was NEVER into exercise. Okay, okay, when I was in college I did tae kwon do and I was SUPER into it. But I was young and I needed the money! πŸ˜‰ Regardless, I liked going to class and such, but it was never my OBSESSION. I’d tried going to gyms or belly dancing classes, but would always drop out. Now I find myself looking into doing yoga and crossfit to help my BJJ game. I’VE TURNED INTO AN EXERCISE NUT! Please kill me!

4) Discovery of a hidden passion. My passion is teaching English. You get me talking about it and my eyes light up. If you tell me you teach English in Korea, my first question is: Do you have a TESOL certificate. If your answer is YES, I give you my card and tell you to contact me any time if you need resources! If your answer is NO, I give you my card and tell you to take a course with our company and earn it. Now something else lights up my eyes and is all I can seem to talk about. My friends are finding themselves googling words like “armbar” and wondering what the hell I mean when I am talking about triangles.

5) Friends. Joining the BJJ gym here has given me new friends. I was only meeting people at my work, and they’d cycle in and out in 8 weeks. Here, I’m meeting Americans AND Koreans, and I have even learned the Korean for “Triangle choke” (it sounds like sam-gak chorigi). I found a Korean tutor who is going to help me learn BJJ jargon and ask questions of the Korean instructor. It feels very nice to have friends outside of work.

6) Internet usage. Before BJJ Facebook was for Mafia Wars only. Less than a month into BJJ I deleted all my MW only friends, blocked MW, and haven’t looked back. Since then I’ve added all the guys from my gym, watch their updates, comment on our gym’s group page, etc. Plus, I post like mad on (247 comments since joining June 11, 2010) and now have started this blog and now read other blogs from women in BJJ πŸ™‚

7) Health. I started this journey at 205 lbs, 5’4″ and the first month lost 1.5″ from my hips, and .5″ from my waist and chest. I feel stronger, people are noticing I’ve lost size–heck, even the Koreans at my BJJ gym have mentioned in broken English that I’ve lost weight. I’ll be posting my results at the first of the month–I’m measuring/weighing myself once per month and I’m 3 days away from my next measuring!

My love of BJJ has really changed my life for the better. It’s really awesome knowing that I’m actually taking charge of my fitness and being proactive in changing my health and the shape and size of my body.

I wonder how BJJ has changed YOUR life.