Let’s get physical…

As most of you know, Aubrey has severe fibromyalgia. However, her meds and diet keep it mostly in check, and the only time she really gets a major flare is if the weather changes or if she’s getting sick. Two weeks ago when we discovered we’d be trapped in the hotel for another three weeks, I knew I’d have to find something to keep her sane. She was starting to slip into major depression; a lot of that from having our schedule disrupted, not having her own space, not having access to an oven…but mainly, she was still pretty Isaac-broken.

The day before her birthday, the LivingSocial deal of the day was a month of unlimited classes at Roderigo Pinheiro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for $49. I asked her if she wanted it as her birthday present, and she LOVED the idea. I thought it would be a great way to get her mind off things, but I had no idea how it would take off with her. I also worried about her fibro, and if it was going to make it worse, although exercise is supposed to be the best way to keep flares at bay, but this is pretty extreme exercise.

Since we having nothing but time to kill while we wait to close (which isn’t happening until the 14th, AUGH!), she’s doing double classes every day. If I’d let her drive out there, she’d do three or four hours a day, but I think for the moment, two is enough.

The first day we went, she walked in and no one took her seriously. Here was this 96 lb itty bitty girl, and while Jiu-Jitsu and Judo don’t rely on the size of the opponent, she’s too pretty and petite. No piercings, no tattoos, and while unless she’s modeling, Aubrey isn’t a girly-girl, she is still very feminine. These guys are viscious looking (and OMG are they HOT!!!!!), and several are MMA/UFC fighters. So while they let her run around the room with them, and let her do the warm up exercises, and let her mainly watch from the wall, I don’t think a single one of them, except for Roderigo, thought she’d stick it out. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is mainly known as a martial art of submission. The object is to get your opponent trapped in a way that requires them to give in. It isn’t just “hand to hand” combat, but more like full-body wrestling.

The warmups nearly killed her the second day. They have to do this movement called “shrimping,” which requires using pretty much every muscle in the body to scooch/roll/crawl/push across the mat. Then they did crunches. A LOT of crunches. And then they started throwing each other to the floor. I couldn’t watch that part. It was hard enough hearing her hit the mat (she makes a much different sound than a 200lb guy). The warmups that are super easy for her are running around the room kicking each foot to her butt, and then running around kicking each knee up to the chest. She also could do the Russian dance-looking leg kick/switch thing perfectly. I had been worried that two months without any Irish dance was going to leave her so out of shape, she wouldn’t be able to compete until the spring. Now, I’m not at all worried, and this is going to make her a tremendously better dancer, which is good since she’ll be in Massachusetts, where those girls are born with ghillies tied around their ankles.

I think most of the guys were shocked she came back the second day, but they were terrified of training with her. For one thing, without makeup, she looks 12, so she’s begun to announce at every single class that she is actually 18. Considering some of the moves they have to do are more than vaguely sexual, I can appreciate their reluctance. Again, I don’t think they were expecting her back, so when she showed up on the third day in a row, a couple of them started to change their opinion…but only a couple.

She missed out last Thursday and Friday, and then the school was closed for a three day weekend for the 4th of July. Aub went through serious endorphin and adrenaline withdrawal. She slipped back into not wanting to move from her chair, and just played video games for most of those five days, and counted down the days till Tuesday. When she not only showed up on Tuesday, but got her own gi and t-shirt for non-gi grappling, a few more guys gave her a little more credit.

She couldn’t wait to actually be allowed to grapple, but Rodrigo requires five classes before letting a student seriously spar. Wednesday was her first day to really grapple, and she actually won one of the matches. I don’t think any of them were expecting her to be badger-viscious, so that first one took everyone (except Rodrigo) by surprise. She lost the rest of her matches, and had to tap out on some, but on a couple, her opponent won for scoring points, or for time. For the first time, she came home with some serious battle scars; a scratch, a cut, several bruises…she generally looks like someone is beating the crap out of her.

Thursday, she was back for more. I think all of the guys are finally taking her seriously. She doesn’t ask to be excused from any movement or practice, no matter how sexually awkward the move is. When she grapples, her tiny size is a huge advantage, because it’s hard for them to really hold her. And, she is VISCIOUS. She does not let go. She has paid attention to every training exercise, and isn’t afraid to choke hold someone, or lock her wrists and ankles in a way that they can’t get her off them. For the moment, Rodrigo has her mostly sparring with tween boys (12/13 yr olds), although she has got down on the mat with the bigger guys, and has even grappled with Rodrigo (he grapples with everyone).

She LOVES it. For one thing, she’s generally the only woman in a room full of gorgeous, half naked, muscled guys, so the view is fantastic. She thrives on the adrenaline and endorphins. She LOVES that she is damned good for having only six days (11 classes). She loves that she’s earning the respect of guys two and three times her age and size. Her self-esteem has skyrocketed from the dive it took after Isaac destroyed her.

Honestly, I would pay an exorbitant sum of money to see him try to push her ever again. She can quite easily break several bones in the body, particularly the arms and wrist. She can dislocate a shoulder, take out an ankle, and choke an opponent into submission. I think ANY guy who doesn’t know her and thinks he can overpower her is going to be in for a huge shock, because unless he knows how to combat her moves, he’s going to be in severe pain. Every day that she goes to class, I feel a smidge better about sending her off to Boston/New York by herself. She fully intends to continue, as there is a Gracie school of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu up near South Hadley, so she’ll be within the same style, can use the same gi, and will just have to add the school proprietary patch to her gi next to her RPBJJ patch.

I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Aubrey’s abilities, and I know how viscious she can be. I think within a couple of years, she will be downright deadly. That’s not a bad thing for a tiny little stick of a girl. I no longer worry about her ever being stuck in an abusive relationship, or walking across campus. I can definitely see her teaching a self-defense class during J-term.

So now, when Aubrey tells someone to not fuck with her, she will be able to enforce her words if necessary. She is just way too cool.

“Let me hear your body talk, your body talk, let me hear your body talk…”