Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Choo Choo!

When you get promoted at Triangle Jiu Jitsu, people are happy for you and celebrate with high fives and butt slaps for like 15 minutes. Then they start to get excited for another reason - they will very soon get to beat you up.

Different schools have different traditions for belt promotions and I think ours is worse than most. We celebrate by running "trains." Blue belt trains last for 15 min - that means that a new person will roll with you (as meanly and aggressively as possible) every minute, for 15 min. If there are less than 15 people in class, as was my case, the highest ranking people will roll with you twice, making your life doubly miserable. To show you what I have to look forward to, trains last 30 min for purple belts, 45 min for brown belts, and 1 hour for black belts. People of lower rank get to start wherever they want on the "trainee" (mount, back mount, knee in belly, etc). People of the same or higher rank as the trainee start where the previous person left off.

I am a bit of a softie and tend to roll nice with people during their trains (no more, I assure you!). But the general idea is not to tap the person as many times as possible per se, but to make them as miserable as possible. For example, if you sink in a clock choke, you will have to let go as soon as they tap. But imagine how much more it would suck if you tighten said clock choke only about 80% and also hold them in a nice, tight body triangle so that they are still - very barely - able to breathe. This way, you can hold them there for your whole minute!

To sum it up, the idea is to turn the victim, er, trainee from one of these...

into one of these...

Ouch, right? Yes,  ouch indeed. I thought about having my train videoed, but I was afraid that would spur folks to show off in front of the camera. Also, if such a tape were to go viral, it might be the kind of thing to get a group of fellas arrested. And if they are hiding behind bars, then I wouldn't be able to extract vengeance on my teammates during their future trains, now would I?

My thought going into this was that, lately, a lot of my female friends have been going through painful endurance events of their own - they have been giving birth. Now, that is one endurance event that I have zero interest in. (I do actually take a folic acid supplement, but only because it's helps keep my blood pressure in check).  But all types of women give birth - even very wimpy women who don't train jiu jjtsu at all- and they do it without any training! So if figured if my friends are surviving childbirth and making it out in one piece, then surely I could survive my blue belt train. 

And  survive I did. It was certainly one of the more painful 15 min in my recent memory, but I'm confident that it's not as bad as expelling another being from your body (be it baby, or demonic possession). In terms of athletic endeavors, I can think of only a few that sucked worse. (The last half mile of the Swim Around Key West was pretty bad...I was winning, but 2nd place was waay too close, my shoulders were on fire, the water was over 90 degrees, and suddenly we were going against the current instead of with it. But events like this are few and far between). I also know that my train was worse than anything that I will go through in a jiu jitsu tournament, so there is nothing to be afraid of the first time I compete as a blue belt. If I weren't so sore and if my face weren't raw from all the almost gi chokes, I would tell you that the train was empowering in a way. If you can survive a fight against an entire gym, than any one person would be a piece of cake, right?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting: I'm not a big fan of accompanying a promotion with lots of suffering, but this sounds much better than belt whipping, as at least you get to fight back.

    So far I've been fortunate, in that all my promotions have only entailed a hand shake and a round of applause. No lasting bruises. ;p