While in Montreal a little over a week ago, my “All the Things Encourager” decided (or was convinced) that she was going to go to the Jiu-Jitsu World Tournament in California on June 1st, so on the Tuesday we got back, we spent the 12 o’clock class helping her build up her cardio for rolls. I was maybe a little hurt to be referred to as active recovery (although considering what we do for active recovery in the boxing bootcamp, it’s no walk in the park), but this was also the beginning of many conversations about me needing to step it up jiu-jitsu wise, because I don’t give 100% and I often try what feels comfortable to me rather than what will actually work.

I spent most of that afternoon putting together furniture and hanging out with Ayisha before NOGI class that evening, where I tried to apply some of her suggestions. I somehow feel more confident in NOGI, and find it easier to fight harder and give more, but I still have a long way to go.

On Wednesday I had a meeting with an agent at lunchtime. I am so torn when it comes to agents, because part of me would rather have anyone than to not have one, whereas part of me is apprehensive because I know what I have been through in the past. This agent was so excited about me and what I could bring to her roster, but she was also very new in the business, which scares me. That being said, she answered every question perfectly, is being mentored by a veteran, and I feel like she will truly fight for me. Which is why I ultimately decided that I would sign with her for what will hopefully be a very long and prosperous relationship.

 After the meeting I met up with Ayisha and we hung out/figured things out until class started. I have been helping her out with the kids class, for my affinity for children rather than my jiut-jitsu skills, but it is incredible how much I am learning from it. The kids have their basics down way more than I do, and they have tricks and stuff to remember how to do things properly.

In the before last roll of the adult class that night (after over 2 hours of technique and lots of rolling…) I hurt my arm. I was going harder than I usually do, trying to be less passive about my training, so when someone was about to sweep me, I fought instead of resigning myself to the fall, and ended up falling on my arm (and theirs) in a manner that my elbow (and wrist) went in a way that it really isn’t supposed to go. I’m pretty sure I heard a pop. We both realized it wasn’t a good fall and she pulled back immediately. I got up, and like every other time I’ve gotten hurt doing physical activity, I tried to shake and walk it off. It was when her voice started to sound like it was coming from miles away, the room became filled with bright lights, and I felt an ice cold breeze that I decided to sit down for a bit.

I watched the last roll and lined up for the end of class, then went to steak night, where

I iced the arm and stopped moving it, because one person told me not to irritate it, but then another told me to get it checked out by a doctor. I wanted to be tough and brush it off, but I also didn’t want to aggravate it and make it worse.

The next morning, I had ultrasounds as an SP, and got worried because my arm was feeling really stiff, but then I realized it was probably because I hadn’t been moving it. At all. When I started to, it hurt a little, but only at first. I messaged a friend who is a physiotherapist and got her recommendations for what it is safe to do and at what point it would become hospital worthy. She didn’t sound concerned so I was incredibly relieved.

This was the first time I have gotten hurt since starting this new, very active lifestyle, so I knew that how I acted this time would set a precedence for future injuries. Old me would have seen it as a valid reason to take a few weeks off, but I knew that doing that now would mean that I would never make it as any kind of a stunt person. Being afraid and taking time off from training would probably create a snowball effect, just like the one that started last summer, which would set me back to the girl I was then. Not that she wasn’t awesome, but she didn’t quite realize it and was afraid to own up to it or explore it. I have grown so much since then, and I was terrified of reverting back.

So, while I didn’t want to injure myself further by rolling in NOGI that night, I still did the kids class, working technique with a 10 year old and then rolling with her. Easing into it and being smart, but still training. Then Ayisha and I went to a middle school play for one of the girls who sometimes does jiu-jitsu and workshops. I was expecting the kind of plays we put on when I was in high school, but this was a musical and she was leagues beyond middle school or even high school. The acting, the singing, her stage presence…she was amazing.

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On Friday, I met up with some people and we worked on the choreography from the week before. The amount of fun I have doing these things is a great barometer for whether I should keep pursuing this somewhat crazy dream of mine. I loved every minute of it. There was jiu-jitsu at lunch, where we spent the whole hour working on technique, without rolling.

That afternoon, I worked from home before going to the Nell Shipman Awards Gala. I was there as a volunteer and part of the committee that organized it, and it was a really inspiring night. We screened Moon Dog, the result of the Short Film Creation Lab initiative, and it is so encouraging to see what these women put together, and what the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee is fostering.

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My favorite part of the night was probably the speech Karen Walton gave when she accepted her award. She was who I voted for, but hearing her friend introduce her, and then hearing her speak definitely solidified my choice. She writes women that I would dream of becoming, sees the world in a magical way (as it could be) and works so hard to bring people together, to support and encourage and nurture other writers and creators. A new addition to my list of people I would love to collaborate with, and whose career I will be paying a lot more attention to from now on.

On Saturday, my roommate offered to shoot some headshots for me (of my new badass self) so we chose some outfits, she did my hair and makeup and we wandered around our back alley taking pictures. She was awesome to shoot with, super talented and sent me the edited shots within hours. If you are lucky enough to know her and want some new headshots, I can definitely vouch for and wholeheartedly recommend her.

After, I went to the Saturday kids class, where Ayisha had the students teaching her techniques that she could use at the tournament, which was possibly the cutest thing ever.

I stayed after that class for my first even open mat, which was a million times less scary than I made it out to be. In my head, open mat meant all kinds of big, strong guys from different gyms with something to prove who would be rough and annoyed that they have to roll with a newbie girl. (Absolutely none of my encounters with jiu-jitsu people have ever reinforced this, but I have a vivid imagination) In the end, it was all the guys I am already used to rolling with. I spent the first bit going over curriculum with one of them, then we started rolling. I did make it a point to warn everyone about my arm, more out of fear than actual pain, but they found many ways to make me tap out without even touching my arm. They were careful if they needed to be, but also gave me a lot to work on. So in those two hours, I faced my open mat fears, and my rolling after hurting my arm fears.

Once open mat was done I rushed home to shower, then headed out to meet a friend for some gelato. We have been trying to get together and catch up for probably years, but he is always being awesome and touring across the country, or to different countries, and we are rarely in the same city at the same time, so it was really nice to finally get to do that.

The next three days I worked as a standardized patient, all day, (one of them with no access to our phones, which led to some worried friends) then managed some quality roomie time, jiu-jitsu classes and boxing at night.

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On Wednesday, I showed up for the 9:30 boxing class, unaware that it was not happening. Shiva had also come, so instead of heading home, we did our own workout, with a variety of warm ups and exercises from jiu-jitsu, boxing, workshops and classes that either of us had taken. We did the fun stuff like pad work, but also the not fun stuff, like squats and more pull ups than I have done consecutively in my life. It was a crazy exciting moment for me, which is hilarious for what it is, but I spent months working on pull ups to be able to do 5 a few years ago, and here I was doing more than twice that like it was nothing. Or at least not the hardest thing ever. It is really exciting to be able to do things I wasn’t able to do before.

I worked from home that afternoon, then came to the kids class before driving back to Montreal once it was done.

I woke up for a 6 am hike with my mom on Thursday, then met up with Christine for some training. She has mats and all the things, so after some cardio and ab workouts, we did combos, which I think I sometimes got, and sometimes completely missed reaction-wise. But when she gave me choices, I always chose the one I felt I had the most difficulty with, so…yay to learning new things?

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We finished off with falls, because she recently had to do one on set (and absolutely killed it) and realized just how different cement is to the really big mats we usually learn falls on. I spent most of the time we spent on back falls trying to convince my body to land on my back first, rather than on my tailbone. I do understand why I’m going about it the wrong way though, so continuously working on it until I am no longer afraid of the void and falling backwards should fix it.

Luckily, my side break falls were good, so after testing me a couple of times on the mat she brought, we did it on the grass. Soooo many times. But it was fun. I like working on the things I don’t get so that I can improve, but it is really nice, every once in a while, to be doing something that I am actually doing right.

When we finished, I met up with JF for what ended up to only be a 20 minute coffee break, because training ran late and I had to get to a rehearsal for my cousin’s wedding. For months now it has just been something that is happening, an event, a given, but there was a moment during the rehearsal where it hit me. How everything will mostly stay the same, but also be different. How she is the first one of us cousins to walk down the aisle. How this is the start of a whole new adventure for her. I couldn’t be more proud or nostalgic or excited for what is happening tomorrow.

I went for supper with my aunt and cousin after the rehearsal, then slept over at Christine’s, where we watched a South Korean Action film, talked a lot, ran lines and ate ice cream and cookie dough.

This morning I came home to go to a NOGI class in Beloeil, where I learnt some cool moves the people at my gym may not know, which might give me a slight advantage if I manage to pull them off? I also got to meet some really nice people and roll with someone who is closer to my size than I usually get.

I spent the rest of the day running errands and spending time with family, and now I am off to bed because I have a wedding to be a part of tomorrow.

“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.”

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