It's funny how I've gone from "what am I doing here?" to "of course I'm going to class," in the course of a few weeks.
The change has been subtle, but sudden, kind of like getting caught in a triangle choke while you were stubbornly concentrating on your own slow, blundering, submission. I am still getting bruises. I am still waking up sore. But I'm no longer questioning whether or not I am going to class. Something is different. I'm even starting to understand why some of the old-schoolers and higher belts do two-a-days.
Although I'm getting a lot better at drills, I still feel like nothing is sinking in yet. There is a lot to think about: the steps in a given move, the name of the movement, the points awarded if you successfully pull it off in a competition, and how to do it with enough speed and confidence that it actually works against an opponent who knows your game and will counter. From day one, you are learning and practicing the same things as all the other belt levels. There is no 101 class for noobs like me, you just have to jump into the pool. It's like being dropped naked into a foreign country, where no one speaks your language, and being told to figure it out.
For a minute, this made me want to run back to the safety of home, aka the weight room, but I hung in there, and now I am intrigued. The fear of being lost is no longer making me want to quit; it's motivating me to learn. And the bar is high because I am the only student in my weight class, by a lot. I may be a well-muscled 120 pounder, but it means very little when you're up against a seasoned 175+ pound athletic dude. Simply tossing the legs aside isn't a workable game plan.
Luckily for me, another girl has been rolling at our academy for an interim period who is my weight. She is a skilled blue belt, and very technical, so I felt like I was able to learn a lot, while being able to feel what it was like to spar with a person my size. She tooled me, for sure, but she also gave me hope.
I'm going to get this, eventually.
Then, I'm going to get good.
Then, one day, I'm going to return the favor to another white belt who is feeling discouraged.