Purple Haze: Jiu Jitsu Girls – A BlueBell(e) has Blossomed – Part 1

Yes, yes… I know, I know… It has been quite a hot minute or two since I’ve put out a Jiu-jitsu related post and podcast. I’ve had a bit of writer’s / podcaster’s block. But I found a good topic and a timely one, at that. This is the first time having a guest so I hope you enjoy what we’ve worked on and brought to the table. As always, I’ve provided the transcript below for those who would rather read than listen. Please don’t hesitate to comment or reach out on any of the platforms and let me know which format you are using – podcast or written word – I’d love to hear from you!

~Tom

My fiance, Jenn, joined the Reign Jiu Jitsu team in May 2019. I’d known Jenn for awhile and had invited her a couple of times to try it out and eventually, she showed up. She took a trial class, joined the team and came to enjoy our weird art of involuntary yoga in our murder pajamas. A little over a year, year-and-a-half ago or so, Jenn decided to bow out temporarily as she was trying to find some balance and harmony in her life: work, raising a little one, a relationship with yours truly, time with friends, etc.

Now, I wouldn’t say her time off the mats was completely blocked off from all things Jiu-jitsu. She’d come with me to competitions and support the team, on occasion we’d play around with techniques at home. We also share an interest in watching MMA fights together as well as sending IG clips to each other covering BJJ matches, submissions and concepts. So, she wasn’t too far out of the circle, but it is another thing entirely to get back to the Academy and train.

At the begining of April, our Professor, Shane, drawing from his experience as a Law Enforcement Officer, Judo and Jiu-jitsu began a twelve week women’s only self defense course. Jenn, of course, jumped at this opportunity to hone the edge a little bit and knock some rust off. In June, when the course was winding down, and having her appetite thoroughly whetted, Jenn donned her Gi and officially returned to the mats and her team. She began honing her edge; getting the rust off. Techniques, concepts and positions were clicking like she’d never been away. It was awesome to see her back on the mats and making progress. She was on the right track. Shane was guaging and tracking her progress and a few weeks ago he told me to not let her get off track because she was getting “close”. I knew what this meant, but didn’t know the timing.

I knew that Shane would want to promote Jenn on a night when I was there, as he wanted to make it special for all of us and he knew that I’d want to be there when the time came. The challenge for him is that most of the time Jenn and I have alternating training schedules and he didn’t want to necessarily tip his hand and tell me to come on a night I normally don’t train. By way of backstory, Jenn and I bought a home together last September and we got engaged in December, so we’ve been busy combining households and getting our respective families ready to be a bonafide blended family come our wedding this November. Rare are the days we get to train together, as we’ve found a healthy balance and harmony training alternative days so each of us can hold down the fort and take care of the kids. On those rare occasions when we are able to train together, it is usually during the latter part of the week when our kids aren’t with us.

And so it was, on Wednesday, August 31, 2022 that our Professor had one of those rare sightings of us walking in together. We did the normal pre-class stretching, warming up and general visiting with our team and then Shane had everyone line up to begin class.

And that’s when Jenn was called up and promoted to Blue Belt. I may or may not have had misty eyes… I think there was an HVAC problem in the Academy.

Purple Belts don’t cry.

So now that she’s already taken a year off, my BlueBelle doesn’t get to have the “blue flu” and disappear into the realm of stereotypical memedom with so many other blue belts who have faded from the BJJ community.

A moment of silence for all those lost souls…that’s enough of that, moving on!

So we’ll be getting in to all of that and more because I want you to get it all in her own words. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you The BlueBelle herself: Miss Jenn!

SO – after that exciting introduction: if you’d like to listen in, please check out the podcast here, or you can find it on Apple, Spotify and about five other providers of podcasts. The topics we cover in Part 1 are as follows:

  • Jenn’s background
  • What got her in to BJJ
  • Her biggest struggles that she’s overcome while training
  • Advice to women just starting or curious to start BJJ
  • Advice to young mothers who are training or want to train
  • Does Jenn compete?

Good times were had by all, so thanks for listening and stay tuned for Part 2 coming out next week!

22 thoughts on “Purple Haze: Jiu Jitsu Girls – A BlueBell(e) has Blossomed – Part 1

  1. Such a cute and creative picture above. I’ve listened to about half of this. My favorite parts so far: her saying it’s nothing sexual. I told my hubby that. I’ve told him that myself, but it’s nice to have another woman say it too, so he knows it’s not just me. (I’m sorry she had such a rough experience at first, like it brought up old trauma. Poor thing. 😦 ) 2. JJ will find all your weaknesses and cracks in your defenses. omg, yes. 3. Lower belts apologizing for taking away your training time. I so get that. A new guy said the same to me (me!), but I, too, didn’t mind at all. Helping him helped me. Y’all are cute. Congrats again to her. (You cradle robber!) I also have a five-year-old. Funny, another similarity. 🙂 Oh, and also relating to working from home and being at home all day and getting out to do something both physical and mental. I get you, girl!!

    1. Glad you’ve enjoyed it so far! Part 2 will be released shortly so there’s more fun to partake in. Once you finish part 1 of course. Happy to hear things were relatable too!

      1. The Gracie Family isn’t brought up in regular conversations.

        We look for examples to emulate, like Roger, who finished practically every world title with a simple “white belt” move.

        The Gracie family – and the few different Gracie schools – are a double edge sword topic, to me.

        They have done a lot for the marketing of BJJ and getting it into the limelight of American Culture. So, some respect is due there. However, they didn’t found Jiu-Jitsu- not by a long shot. The propaganda is strong there, ironically very similar to how other martial arts schools would propagandize their schools in China or Japan.

        There is a rich history that I learning about with how BJJ came to be what it is and the Gracies did play a part, for sure. But they aren’t the whole story.

      2. Well I sorta did one already, lightly going over what I’ve learned so far regarding BJJ history and it’s origins in Judo.

        I plan on going over a book that covers more in detail once I finish it. The writer of the book, despite interviewing a handful of famous Gracies, came up against some major opposition in trying to produce the documentary film… apparently it didn’t fully go with the G families claims. Film still slowly being made from what I understand.

      3. lol all good. The majority of the Purple Haze posts of the last year have had accompanying podcasts, for those who’d rather listen than read. Or both.

      4. I’ll definitely take any ideas for podcasts/posts. My main goal for them is to help lower belts and contribute to the community in a positive way.

      5. Yeah, that’s an idea for sure.

        I don’t have the viewers, readers or follower base yet to be an attractive pull. lol I know my lane. Currently I think they’d be doing me a favor based on listeners alone.

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