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A change that most people don’t know about since I moved to Shanghai is this: I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I’ve been training for about seven months now, although I can’t seem to get the time to train more than once a week. I’ve also been very ill for about a month now, first with the flu and then with some hell of a cold (think about 1 cup of snot per day out of my nostrils). But this week, I finally bought my first gi.

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Tada!

I’ve learned so much in those months, and I’m so happy that I started training. It’s really hard for me, but it’s also really good. My husband has nearly infinite patience for me when we train, which is amazing in itself (Thank you, Russ!!!).

I’m still a white belt’s white belt, and I make silly mistakes all the time. I end up on my head a lot, swept because I moved into a dumb position. I am still afraid of falling, and that actually makes me hurt myself more when we practice takedowns. I forget a lot of the techniques between trainings. I move like an elephant, according to one instructor.

But I’ve lost weight and gained strength. I’m more able than before. I started to move like someone who does BJJ (maybe I’m just a BJJ elephant?). I know a couple of submissions, and I finally got someone to tap when rolling recently. I have to keep it in perspective that I couldn’t even tie my belt when I started.

This is a long-term process and one that I hope to do long into the future. It’s not a race to get stripes or a belt, but a way to learn and stay in touch with my body over the years. I hope this cold finally lifts so that I can go to training next week!

For your laughter, here are some shots of me trying to react to different situations that Russ called out. As you can see, I have a long way to go!

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‘Someone’s doing a flying armbar! What do you do?’ — ‘Uhhhhhhhhh…’

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