2010 was a huge year for me. I moved to Seoul AND started BJJ. These are two life changers. Thought I would review what changes that starting in BJJ has meant for me, as well as some of the progress I’ve seen in my BJJ.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

1. Health I started losing weight. This was also due to some dietary changes, but I feel so much healthier than I did a year ago. I feel stronger, and I feel BETTER.

2. Vocabulary I learned all kinds of words like “guard” and “triangle choke” and “rolling.” Now I have to watch and make sure my speech is decipherable to non-BJJ people. Oops πŸ™‚

3. Awareness of MMA Prior to BJJ I had no clue who BJ Penn or George St Pierre were. To be fair, I don’t really know who they are, but I know they are fighters! I pick up random names here and there, and I know who some of the big names are in BJJ, for good or bad (Eddie Bravo, anyone?).

4. Physical changes I took out all my permanent ear piercings, some of which I’d worn for 10+ years, cut my hair shorter, and cut my fingernails/toenails SHORT.

5. NEW OBSESSION! Honestly, if you had told me a year ago I would be this obsessed with BJJ I would NOT have believed you. I was always so tv-focused, brain focused, and completely ignored my body. My hobbies are all cerebral and crafts, but now I find myself obsessed with all things BJJ. I think my friends are a bit stunned.

Reflections on my BJJ for the year

I started doing BJJ May 31, 2010. Since then I’ve attended 55 classes, which is somewhere between 82 to 100 hours, 1 tournament, and had 2 injuries that took between 4-6 months to heal. I’ve trained in 2 countries and even learned some words about BJJ in Russian. I own 5 gis. I started posting on Jiu Jitsu Forums on June 11, 2010. Since then I’ve written 491 posts. I started this blog on July 25, 2010. Since then I’ve written 45 posts, received 300 comments, had 246 hits on my best day (yesterday, thank you!), and had 8001 all-time views (again, thank you so much!).

First day vs yesterday

The first day of class I was so nervous. I had zero BJJ knowledge, other than Royce Gracie had won UFC, so I thought it would be this uber-competitive, overly-testosteroned sport, and full of douche bags.

I imagined a gym full of THIS GUY, saying things like YEAH BABY.

I asked my friend Steve what the goal of BJJ was. He couldn’t figure out what my question was. I finally realized the goal was: submit your partner with a choke or joint lock. The immediate goals also include: passing their legs, getting a better position, etc.

I remember my first time rolling. ME: I don’t know what to do next!Β  HIM: You need to pass my guard.Β  ME: I don’t know what any of that means! I remember how embarrassed I was and how I would snicker when I watched the instructor demo the moves and it looked like they were cuddling. I remember feeling out of place. I remember looking at everything and thinking “There is NO WAY I can do that.”

Now: While some things look like magic, I know how to ask relevant questions. I feel like I belong. I train on my vacations to other countries. I go home and immediately read BJJ forums and tv is an afterthought.

My thanks to you guys

I feel like I’ve made really amazing friends online. Both at the BJJ forums and in the BJJ blogging community. I love the names that pop up again and again in my comments: Seymour, Georgette (number 1 referrer to my blog! Thanks!), Meg, Allie, Slidey, Liam and the countless others who leave comments. Thank you so much. You guys have really helped form my community and supported me. Thank you so much. And thank you to everyone who I didn’t mention–you’ve helped encourage me to write more, wax poetic more, and connect more.

The amount of women in BJJ is small, and the amount of women who blog about BJJ is even smaller. I’m glad to have found a very supportive community, including the least douche-baggy dudes I’ve ever met in my life: Seymour and Slidey πŸ™‚

Random Christmas pic from 2007 to tell you “Merry Christmas!!!”

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with happiness and productiveness and people who love you. I wish I could give you all a hug…ON THE MAT! πŸ˜‰