Today was a rough one, but mainly because I was finally testing for my BJJ blue belt. The main school test was last month, but I had to wait for my chance until after I had competed in my first tournament. The make-up test for those who couldn’t test in October was held this afternoon at a dojo a good hour’s drive away, and it was a much smaller group. There were very few adults testing, and of that group, only two of us were testing for belts.
Being part of a smaller group concerned me. Testing can feel fairly arbitrary, and it is impossible to know in advance what you will be tested on. I was worried that with a smaller group the pressure to keep things short with each student wouldn’t be there, so they would take the time to test me more thoroughly than I felt prepared to handle. I was wrong. Our instructor asked me to perform a handful of basic moves, and I think he was just looking to make sure I could do those basic moves with precision. That section of the testing was easier than I had expected.
The second phase of testing is rolling. In the bigger testing groups, the higher ranks (purple and above) line up on the mats and are joined by all those testing for a belt. The lower ranks (blue and white belts testing for stripes only) line up and take turns rolling with the higher ranks and belt testers, cycling through and being replaced by the next in line as someone taps out. We didn’t do things that way this time. Instead, I did two rounds of rolling with a female partner of my choice, as did everyone. After the group roll, the instructor had myself and two others (the student testing for brown belt and a blue belt that was on the border for getting his stripe) line up on the mats alone, and he then assigned us each one advanced student to roll with for what felt like forever.
I was partnered with a purple belt woman. The last thing that went through my mind as we started was “Well, Allison, just remember that there’s no shame in tapping out here.” That is the first time I’ve ever given myself permission to “lose” at the start of the match, but I also knew that I was well out-matched. I think taking the pressure off myself like that worked wonders, and she was only able to tap me out after a very long match, only moments before the clock ran out. It was so close, in fact, that most of the other students didn’t even realize that I had tapped, and they had thought I had managed to hold out for the full duration. I was still feeling pretty good about the match, especially since it felt more technical, mental, and skilled than the matches I’ve had against other white belts, which tend to feel raw and primal by contrast. It is the first time I’ve made it through a testing without some sort of injury to my arm. Rolling with a higher rank might raise your risk of tapping, but it sure seems to lower the risk of injury.
I left testing with a new blue belt. Thing 1 left with an orange belt…she had skipped right over yellow belt, so she was feeling happy. In all, it was a good day.
Distance to goal weight: 20.6 pounds. The bump up is well-earned after yesterday’s constant snacking to stay awake
- Fitbit metrics: 4,808 steps, 5 floors. Today illustrates the limits of the fitbit. I was worked so hard during testing that my hands trembled for a half hour afterwards, but that sort of activity just doesn’t get caught by the fitbit.
- 2 hour BJJ testing
- Whole wheat everything bagel with scrambled egg, vegan Canadian bacon, and Daiya cheddar
- Coffee with vanilla soy milk
- Peppermint green tea
- Pita pocket stuffed with hummus and power greens salad
- Potato chips
- Coffee with vanilla soy milk
- 1/2 100 Grand bar
- Grandma’s Pie pizza
- Mixed greens, tomato, red onion, and cucumber dressed in lavender vinegar and Tuscan herb olive oil
- Vanilla porter
- Pecan bar