Jiu Jitsu and all its things…

So like most people that are of a “certain age” I decided I needed some type of exercise in my life, but I didn’t want to deal with the monotony of the gym. I wanted something else, something that was more of a challenge. And that’s when I came across a gym that focused on Mixed Martial Arts. I gave them a call and decided to give Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a try.

Changed my life.

How? Well, I’m a tiny person. Like real tiny. And maybe because of my small stature, I sort of shied away from full contact sports. But this! Jiu jitsu, was all up in my face. It took a little bit of an adjustment, having people sweat all over me. And I’m not going to lie, there were times when I got other people’s sweat in my eye and mouth. Thoroughly disgusting. But in the end, it was an experience. A growing experience that helped me learn what its like to be in bad positions, and how to get out of them. And between all the arm bars, triangles, and Americanas I learned I wasn’t as frail as I thought.

The second thing I learned in this sport, was that as crazy as it seems to those looking in, it is not as dangerous as one might think. Oh yes, there is a chance you’ll get hurt, but it’s the same as any other sport, maybe even less. Because when you’re training jiu jitsu, you’re training with a partner, and no one–no one–wants to hurt their training partner. So while rolling (training), you match intensity with your partner, and there’s hardly anyone that trains more than 85%. The only time one goes the full 100% is while competing. So what I learned, is there is a respect between teammates and an awareness and desire for their well being.

The last thing I learned about jiu jitsu is: It’s just fun. There’s nothing like it. Training–wrestling with a partner, trying to get out of certain positions, or trying for a submission. Failing, and getting submitted yourself, just to dust yourself off, and roll again. Then, finally, submitting someone for the first time. It’s awesome. It’s fun. It’s jiu jitsu, and really, there’s nothing like it.

The need for “otherness”

The other day I sent a friend a copy of a rough draft of a novella that I’m working on. When she was done reading it, the first thing she said to me was, “You really work in those gays whenever you can.”

Yes. Yes, I do.

I do this with people of color, too. Because really, there isn’t enough representation out there for gay people, or Latinos, or any other ethnic group that is not white. But, I’m not going to sit here and complain about it. I’d rather change it, and encourage other writers to change it as well.

Try to make your writing colorful and full of all types of people from all types of backgrounds. I believe it’ll make your writing more rich and deep. And more in tuned with what we see everyday outside our windows.

I know I can get some push back, obviously my friend felt the need to voice the fact that I write in gay people at every opportunity, but I’m not going to let that deter me from writing about them.

But I also don’t want you to get the wrong idea about my friend. She’s supportive of the LGBT community and minorities, but she’s an older woman who’s old school. She isn’t used to reading stories that have diverse characters. Which is the point of this post. I think it’d be great if we can get to a point where not just novels but also movies and TV shows, are more representative of the diversity we see in this country.

I mean really, wouldn’t that be grand?