Last Tuesday I headed out to 4 Points Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, a gym that came highly recommended to me, for my first ever jiu-jitsu class. It was NOGI, for those who know what that is, and for those who don’t, it means without a uniform, which is called the GI. When I showed up there were some girls practicing their boxing, but by the time class started, I was the only girl in a group of guys who all looked like they know what they’re doing, and work out. Needless to say, I felt way out of my league.
We started with warm ups, which I spent a lot of my time laughing through, because I felt like I must be terrible at the front, back and side rolls, and…basically everything we did. But I made it through.
When we got to the Jiu-Jitsu stuff, I was paired with a guy and learnt foot locks, arm locks, kimura…all kinds of things. Though I think I got the technique, it was really not easy to get my partner to tap out. Which is good, in the sense that I really don’t want to be hurting anyone, but bad in the sense that I had to go longer, until I managed to reposition and have extra space to get to a point where he felt like tapping out.
I was feeling pretty accomplished and proud of my progress, up until David, our teacher, started pairing us up for the sparring. My first round was with the same guy I had been practicing with all class, so it was pretty familiar, and I ended up getting him in a headlock (which we hadn’t learnt yet) which lasted almost the entire round.
The other rounds were with different guys, who all could have gotten me to tap out within the first few seconds, but instead they each sort of let me lead, and once I was in a position where I could use a move, they would tell me about it. If we had learnt it tonight, they would be patient while I went through the steps to get there, and if we hadn’t learnt it yet, they would teach it to me. So I ‘won’ because they let me, but it was way cooler that they taught me all kinds of new techniques.
When class was done, I didn’t only have that pride and feeling of accomplishment from earlier, I felt absolutely badass and strong and confident. I knew that if any of the rounds had happened out in the real world I would be dead, but I learnt so much in that small period of time, and although I knew I would be bruised the next day, it felt great. I had a friend who once wrote me a long description of all their aches and pains after a jiu-jitsu class, and thought he was crazy when he ended it with how great it felt, but I get it now. It’s empowering.
I had a nice conversation with the teacher after class, then went home and packed my bag for set in the morning.
On Wednesday and on Friday I was on set for a feature film. It was a CIPIP (Canadian Independent Production Incentive Program), so while it was a professional production, it still had an indie feel, in the sense that the director/writer/producer would talk to us between takes, the actors would strike up a conversation in the lunch line…and we got treated to a musical number on Friday. I’m not going to name the film, so no spoilers, but it’s a good day at work when you get paid to listen to talented women singing live while dancing around you.
On Thursday, I woke up early to go to a 6:30 am boxing class. I was seeing these adds for class pass, and they were having a special of 5 free classes with a 2 week trial, so I decided it would be a great way to try some things that scare me or interest me or sound really cool. Normally I would hate the fact that they charge 15$ if you cancel less than 12 hours before the class, but this time it was excellent motivation to actually brave the cold and get out of bed. I was surprised to see the class had more women than men in it, and I had an amazing partner who showed me the ropes. The hardest part was when the teacher would come over to adjust my position every time I was on pads, because (although he had no way of knowing) my wrists were super bruised. Most likely from me holding them for all the locks I had done on Tuesday. Still, it was a really fun class, and really close to my house
I was walking out as the sun was rising, ready for a day of work, coffees and networking. The Film Mercenaries have been hosting events every month since I moved to Toronto, and I keep intending to go, but this time I actually went, with friends. I met a whole lot of people with various positions in the industry, from actors to producers to directors to sound engineers to music supervisors and entertainment lawyers…it was a great night.
This weekend, I tried my first ever suspended yoga class, which was amazing. It started out simple, with just the feet suspended, working our way to the arms, to sitting in the slings, to standing in them, to being upside down. The inverted positions were really cool, so once class ended, I asked the teacher to take a picture for me, and he not only obliged, he also walked me through doing it properly, in sequence, rather than just recreating the pose. He was also under the impression that I do lots of yoga, because I followed along with the non-modified versions of the inverted positions that his regulars were doing. Probably not the humblest of brags, but I was really excited and proud of myself.
Since I had signed up for a week of free classes at another gym that was on the same street, and they had a Muay Thai class starting just as that class was ending, I decided to go and check it out. The online schedule implied that there were 2 classes, one after the other, Fundamentals, then Mixed Level. I figured I would try the first one, see how I was doing, then decide if I wanted to stay for the second one as well.
It wasn’t until 15 minutes after the first class was supposed to have ended that I realized they weren’t so much 2 separate classes, as one long class. It was interesting, because the warm up was similar to the jiu-jitsu class, but the rest of it was basicaly different combos with the same moves I had done in boxing. Mixed with the kind of ab work I did years ago with Vas’ Fit Team/ Sweaty Sundays 😉 By the time I got home, I felt awesome. Not like my body felt awesome, although maybe it did, but I felt like after the week I’d had, I was awesome. Which is so much more than I could have hoped for when I started doing all of the things that scare me or make me nervous.
On Sunday, I decided I would take it easy, because there were a lot more things I was signing up for and I want to be ready.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along’.”