Yesterday I got to experience my first body triangle. Is it a little weird that I was kind of excited about that? I bet outsiders think us BJJ folk are crazy. Maybe we kind of are. We not only volunteer to put ourselves in painful and uncomfortable situations, we enjoy it too.
For many years I’ve watched MMA and every time someone gets locked in a body triangle I know it’s got to be miserable. And, not only miserable, but also hard to escape.
The commentators of those fights always give you a play by play of just how unpleasant being in that situation is. Sometimes you can hear the sympathy in their voices as they explain the misery that the body triangle-ee is going through.
Now, I KNOW-know how unpleasant it is. It definitely didn’t disappoint.
I wanted to tap almost immediately. I’m in my head saying, “Don’t tap. Don’t tap. It sucks, it hurts, but do not tap.” If you watch MMA sometimes you’ll see these fighters stuck in this position for minutes. Minutes that I’m sure feel like an eternity. I told myself that if they can do it while being repeatedly punched in the face, I can hang on a little longer.
However, it wasn’t just the body triangle that sucked. I was essentially stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Otherwise known as a brown belt.
While he was trying to choke me with his hands, his legs were squeezing tighter and tighter making that body triangle more and more painful. I felt like I was buried in sand and each time my lungs would compress to send the air out the sand would immediately fill up that space giving me less and less room to expand my lungs and breathe.
In my early white belt days I would have for sure panic-tapped almost right away.
I am pretty proud of myself for lasting as long as I did for one reason. I’m going to share a little peek into one of my really big weird-isms: I panic when I feel like I’m trapped. My husband has long made fun of me for this one. Have you ever been lying in bed and your blanket kind of gets tangled up and traps your feet?
Yeah. I flip out when that happens.
There is something crazy in my brain that flips out if I ever feel part of my body being trapped. Like seriously, flailing, panic, I am going to go bat-shit crazy if I don’t get out of this. Blankets fly across the room. Nearby spectators might get smacked by thrashing limbs. It’s pandemonium near an exorcism level.
Don’t judge me. We all have a little weird in us.
I call this whole body triangle experience a victory. Obviously not a victory against my opponent. I fought off the choke and the relentless pain of the body triangle for as long as I could. Eventually I tapped when it got so tight that I wasn’t sure if it was a man behind me or a boa constrictor trying to kill it’s prey so it can swallow him whole.
He won. I learned. I learned that if I just relax and dig deep mentally, that I can push through my extreme fears of being trapped and last much longer in those situations. I’ve still got a lot of work to do in that area but I do feel like I am getting mentally stronger everyday.
That’s a victory to me.