Monthly Archives: October 2012

The background story.

It’s Sunday night, which means that after a long week of studying I have completed my mandatory practice quiz that is supposed to prepare me for the weekly Monday morning “quiz” and therefore have lost all motivation to continue studying for the night. (To give you a general idea…a quiz in med school has the same amount of information that a semester exam would in undergrad). This is my life. Being an M2 is incredibly time consuming, and leaves very little time to do things that you once enjoyed. However, I find it’s important for my mental sanity to try and squeeze something in. That’s where BJJ comes into the picture. 

I will be the first to admit that during M1 I all but gave up exercising, which did nothing but hurt me in the long run. I have a friend in my class who all year talked about how he trained in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and to be honest, I thought he was crazy. But this past spring when I was out of shape and hating it, he brought me to an MMA conditioning class. I loved it. I joined on the spot. Now, between M1 and M2 you have the last summer break of your entire life. I was doing a program through school that gave me a job working with inner-city youth, but I wanted to do something crazy and fun that I would always remember. So I decided to join BJJ with the stipulation that it would only be during the 3 months of summer.

It’s a little over 4 months later, and I’m hooked. I try and train at least 3 times a week, though some weeks I’m lucky and make it in 6 times to train. It’s seriously like nothing I’ve ever done before. After a long, hard day there’s just nothing like going into the academy and being put in a life-or-death situation. Your mind becomes free of any problems except how to survive in the present moment. And as a female white belt, survival is really the only thing I focus on. I’m most definitely not the strongest or the biggest person on the mat, nor do I have a lot of skill, so I am patient and work on my defense. I’ve learned that BJJ is a long, slow journey. In 4 months, I still know what seems like nothing. But it’s not about how many people you tap or what the color of your belt is, as I’ve come to find out. The only thing that matters is having the courage to step on the mat. 

On a daily basis I am forced to tap out; but to me, that does not mean I’ve lost. To me, it means that I got myself into a position that made me vulnerable, and the next time I’ll know what to avoid. I don’t think there’s such a thing as losing, especially when you’re just training at the academy. I think you learn – and to me that’s winning. There’s so much more that I’m gaining from BJJ than just skills – I’ve gained a family, I’ve gained confidence, and I’ve gained a peace of mind. 

I’m working on being the best medical student and BJJ practitioner I can; and the fact that I’m a woman will not deter me – on the contrary, it propels me forward. So to all the female med students or BJJ players out there, this blog is for you. It will contain my struggles and my triumphs over what are the two hardest, yet most rewarding, paths in my life.