Holy smokes has it been a long time! I’ve simply been too busy to write, though I’ve not been at a loss for things to write about.
All for the better, though. If I wrote a few weeks ago like I wanted to, the tone of this post would be very different. It would be mournful and negative. Frankly, I was feeling dejected about the changing parameters of my training. Things were going very well for me in Kingston at MAP: I had been training injury free for eight months; I started competing and being a lot more focused in my training and how I learn; I was finally feeling like I was making gains in my BJJ. For some reason, I feared that by moving I was effectively slamming on the brakes of my improvement. And I was just flippin’ sad to be leaving MAP.
Well. A fair bit has happened since those feelings first started festering...
I finished up my master’s (for the most part).
I had a ton of good-bye meals with friends and classmates.
I had an awesome last night at MAP. I got to roll with almost everyone during a shark-tank class set-up (for myself and a teammate who is also moving). After receiving a very sweet going away gift, pictured below, we went out for wings and beer. It was fabulous. The evening was extra special because some very skilled (and silly) guys from Ronin’s in Ottawa came to visit.
So sweet! Thanks again.
The next day I moved to the country where I have been playing with puppies and horses. It’s been absolutely delightful!
When not playing with animals, John and I have been training at Dragan’s in Waterloo. They have a fairly large crew there – a lot of new guys (even a new girl!), and a bunch of upper belts. This includes an awesome female purple that I have mentioned before with admiration, and a super awesome female blue belt.
While rolling during the first class I realized how lucky I am to be training somewhere different. No, it’s not MAP, but it’s new training partners. As such, they react differently to what you do. They teach you different things, in different ways. I always understood that there is great benefit to training in different places, but a few weeks ago I was too bummed to look at the transition positively. It was hard to be positive because there was so much uncertainty.
So, very quickly I was somewhat appeased due to the training found in Waterloo, but there was still a great amount of uncertainty with what we would find in Thunder Bay.
Ohhhh Thunder Bay.
I went there for the first time last weekend to find a place for us to live. What I discovered was a very…interesting…city. I stayed in a hotel that was in a downtown so sketchy and desolate, even I did not want to walk it alone in the evening. Along side its natural beauty, there are a surprisingly large number of pockets of poverty. I’ve never seen anything like it. The views can be outstanding, though. (And I think there may be something to be said about the people who live there.)
In this case, the sunrise was more of a star than the Sleeping Giant.
After deciding on a very nice apartment on the Friday of my weekend trip, I had time to visit the local grappling club, Leading Edge MMA.
These guys are serious about their MMA. To tell you the truth, I was worried that they would be all MMA all the time. But to my delight, as I trained with the no-gi guys, about seven guys in gis were doing their own thing on the other end of the mat. They included a brown, purple, and blue belt. I managed to ask one of the white belts about their dedication to pajama wrestling, and it sounded promising. (They currently run out of a community centre where their grappling times are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.) So that made me feel wayyy better. Not only that, all the no-gi/MMA guys I rolled with were very considerate, and the instructor of the day was very welcoming. By the end of class, moving to T-Bay was starting to look up a little bit and my apprehension about leaving MAP was being replaced with some excitement.
As I walked to the women’s change room from the Leading Edge mats with my newfound feelings, I noticed a poster. Its edges were all crinkly and ripped, like it had fallen down and been put back up many times. But the woman in the centre went untouched. No, she wasn’t half-naked or a pin-up. It was a woman in a flowing red gi/robe-thing with a stick of sorts, doing some martial art I don’t understand, with the word “mastery” printed underneath, (like this little guy).
It was the same as one of the posters you’ll find at MAP.
Immediately upon seeing it my heart dropped with nostalgia but a smile sprouted on my face.
So, MAP, you guys make me smile even from 1500 km away. I know I will think of you every time I see it!