I spent Saturday at Imago Theater’s Stage Combat workshop to benefit Artista, their free mentorship program for young women. It was given by Anita Nittoly (from the John Stead workshop) with help from David Chinchilla, both super talented and from Toronto.

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The morning was spent learning unarmed combat, followed by an afternoon of swordplay, which was awesome. I really wish I had paid more attention/remembered more in previous stage combat classes, but I am making up for it now. This was a workshop for beginners, which was exactly what I needed. I am so lucky to be able to participate in all kinds of incredible workshops and trainings, but it was really good for me to just be able to learn the basics from an expert who also knows my goals and always seems to be right there to help me out.

There were also some familiar faces at the workshop, and new friends, which was really nice. At the end, everyone was asking Anita and David when they would be coming back, but I was thrilled with the knowledge that I now live in Toronto with them (so I don’t have to wait for them to come back in the Fall so I can build on the skills they taught us today).

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On Sunday, I worked with a bunch of my McGill friends, and got some work done in the downtime, before going out for Father’s Day with my family. I planned this trip to Montreal around the fact that I was convinced it was Father’s Day, so my dad humored me, even though it is actually the 17th, not the 10th.

On Monday, I started off my day with a mother-daughter hike, then eventually made my way to Complexe BTT Beloeil for some Jiu-Jitsu. They were working on curriculum, which just so happens to be the same as at 4 Points. Still, this absolutely does not mean that I didn’t learn anything. We did each technique less times, so I got further down the list than I usually do, and my partner taught me a few new locks (that I can’t actually do until I’m a blue belt) to prepare me because I kept putting myself in positions where it would be so easy for him to use them on me.

After technique, we rolled and it was really interesting to go against a girl who is pretty close to my size and also a white belt (at least for the next few days). The other rolls were probably more technique and lessons, but I can always use those too.

That afternoon I met up with my friend Cindy, who is the sweetest person you will ever meet. She is so encouraging and supportive that time spent with her is like a nice big hug and a ray of sunshine, if that makes any sense.

She walked me over to my Meisner class, where we were a really small group. I took weekly drop-in classes for a few months last year, and came to this class once. I loved it but also hated it back then, because although I could tell it was helping me, I found it terrifying that you can’t prepare for Meisner. You can’t learn your lines or rehearse or plan out what you are going to do. This time I was out of practice and nervous, but I went anyway. Since there were only 4 of us, I worked for 2 of the 4 hours, where everything is brought up, especially my nerves and awkwardness. What comes off as charming and adorable in life is actually boring and frustrating up there, where you need to have an opinion and care and do all kinds of things that I barely scratched the surface of kind of doing. Still, it felt so good to be back at it and I had a great night. The work was exactly what I needed, watching the others was incredible and we finished it off with drinks at the pub. Once I am back in Toronto, I am definitely finding myself a Meisner class, and I’ll try to stick around more Monday nights in Montreal.

On Tuesday I spent the morning sliding and climbing at a park, then waddling in ice cold water with my nieces, before heading to jiu-jitsu at the BTT headquarters in Montreal. I have never been in a class with that many people before, and so many of them were women. I did technique with 2 different ones, each super nice and helpful. We worked on curriculum again, the one I know, but with a few slight variations. What I found really interesting is that whenever they did something different from the way I was taught, I would ask questions, so I not only learnt different ways of doing things, I learnt why each one is beneficial and when to use which.

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For the rolls, I was paired with a white belt first (another who will be getting her blue on Saturday), then a purple, followed by two black belts. All women. Since there are so many people, we would start with one person already in the other’s guard. I am getting better at keeping people in my guard, at least when rolling, but I still have a long way to go. I learnt so much from this class, from the technique to the rolling to the giving me tips and pointers once the roll was done…I now have another place I will train at whenever I’m back in town.

I spent the night with my parents, going to see Ocean’s 8 and watching American Ninja Warrior. They tease about me eventually being on the show, which I’m pretty sure will never happen, but I bet I can do a lot better on a second round of Tough Mudder 😉

On Wednesday I got in another hike with my mom, then went to train with Christine. She likes that she gets to work on her basics with me, and I really like that she teaches me cool new things by breaking it down into easy steps and is super patient. Other than the usual padwork and combos, we worked on our back falls, side falls and half twists. SO MUCH FUN! She made me lunch and we hung out after, until I had to rush to McGill in a panic because her clock was over an hour off.

Today I am at McGill all day, just hanging out and catching up with old friends (and I guess working too) before I head back to Toronto, with all kinds of new knowledge (and some bagels) in tow.

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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