Ass-up.

Is ass-up a legit word/term?

I ask because my husband has made fun of me for the last 13 years for using the term “ass-end” to describe the backside of a car. What sounded completely foreign and hillbilly to him was completely normal and common for a girl who grew up in a world of dirt track racing. I mean I guess now I can understand a second look, cringe-y type of reaction to hearing phrases that included ass-ends being loose. Especially if you didn’t grow up as a racetrack brat and spend every weekend either in the pits or in a garage surrounded by men and their cars. Until thirteen years ago I never gave a second thought to my beloved ass-end label.

It seems in my transition from racing geek to jiu-jitsu practitioner I’ve tapped into my hillbilly vocabulary once again and traded the term ass-end for ass-up. Let me give you an example.

“I hate going inverted because I embarrassed to be ass-up in front of people.”

True story. I have had some pretty serious fears regarding anything in jiu-jitsu that requires me to go ass-up. As someone with a large booty and a negative body image, the thought of going ass-up/inverted, (I put inverted there for those who might be looking for a more sophisticated and technical term.), has been a fear I have many, many times refused to confront.

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It’s kind of a two part ass-up fear. Fear #1 – Ass on display. Fear #2 – Ability.

Ass on display is pretty simple. I hate my butt and the last thing I want to do is go inverted and put it right up in the air for the world to see and possibly right in someone’s face.

Ability.

Fucking ability.

My ability to go inverted is “challenged” due to both my lack of flexibility and to the size of my ass. Lifting it up and over my head is a task that should probably only be left to devices like cranes or a hoist of some kind. Plus, my ability to wrap my brain around the right movement and getting my body to do it correctly have shown to be quite challenging.

Between the ass-up fears, shortage of flexibility, and lack of ability to execute it, inverted was something that I thought just might not ever be a part of my jiu-jitsu game. That thought was always followed with a little bit of sadness. There are certain moves in jiu-jitsu that I love, that make me feel all super jiu-jitsu-y and inverted is one of them. Plus, since I’m working my guard game a lot right now, inverted can be a great way to regain your guard. I also told myself long ago that I don’t want to prematurely decide that something will never be a part of my game before I legitimately give it some effort. If I’ve learned anything over the last year and half, it’s that you might surprise yourself with what you can learn to do if you put in the work and effort.

I eventually made the decision that I’m just going to have to get comfortable going ass-up. That’s all there is to it. I’m going to get so good at inverted that my nickname could be Ass-up Allison.

Um, eww.

Maybe not.

That kind of name just doesn’t sound right for the 37-year-old mom type. Or for anyone not in the porn industry.

I thought maybe I could work on it in the comfort and privacy of my own home and get a little more comfortable with ass-up before I start throwing it out and attempting it in class. For about a month my large, living room ottoman has been my inverted training tool. I sit on the floor, facing the ottoman, at the left edge. I put my right leg on top of the ottoman, roll to my right shoulder, walk my feet over the top of the ottoman until I am to the right edge, and then circle my hip back around to sitting. At first I had to hold onto the bottom of the ottoman to help me get into the right position, but I don’t have to do that as much anymore. Yesterday I started working on it both with the ottoman and without. It ain’t pretty, but there is definitely some improvement and the movement doesn’t feel so alien to my body.

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And then there’s this kid. Makin’ it look all easy.

I finally in the last week or so have been attempting it in rolling. The first few times were complete and embarrassing failures, but I have had a few successes too. I ended up actually hitting it to regain my guard a few times and I find myself looking for opportunities to use it in rolling. My favorite was someone try to attack my leg and I went inverted and much to my surprise ended up in a mounted triangle. It may have been a total experimental accident, but hey, it worked and I got the submission.

“Total experimental accident,” my jiu-jitsu motto these days.

It may sound like a goofy, white belt-ish motto, but what I love about it is that it’s proof that I’m putting myself out there and trying new things. I’m not just relying on what I know and what I’m good at. I am seeing what works and what doesn’t. I’m failing and making mistakes and learning.

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I’ve still got a lot of work to do to overcome my ass-up challenges and fears, but seeing and feeling the little bit of progress I have is always a big win. I know that it’s those little steps of progress that lead to success and as long as I am persistent and keeping working at it, I’ll get there.

Ass-up.

Inverted.

Whatever vocabulary I choose, I hope we are going to be good friends one day.

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