I’m finally back after a three and a half month hiatus to wander the wild west. My 20th anniversary trip with the hubby turned into quite the adventure across Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California and Arizona. I had initially thought it would be a sort of tour of southwestern jiujitsu gyms, but due to off timing and a few viral snafus, I didn’t get to roll in a new gym until our last couple of weeks on the road.
Honestly, I was more than a little nervous about rolling with people I didn’t know. Suddenly, the night before I was going to go to class the next morning, I started trying to talk myself out of going. What business does a middle-aged, chubby white belt have poking her head into a strange gym? Surely they would at best treat me as if I didn’t exist, at worst sneer and make me feel as if I were back in 8th grade again. At worst, they would validate the feelings I had about myself. I’ve never been one to let fear or anxiety stop me, though, so off I went the next morning.
As usual, I was so glad that I did. The folks at 10th Planet Las Vegas in Henderson were a warm, wonderful group of people. I had called the day before to make sure that my coming to the Monday morning class would be okay. Casey Halstead asked if I had trained before, and after getting a confirmation that I had, said he looked forward to meeting me the next day. Like at our gym, preclass prep included a lot of catching up about the preceding weekend and checking in with each other for the regulars. No one but Casey and a couple others really introduced themselves at that point, but with time more people said hello and helped show me how they did things there. For instance, they have a couple of pairs of Crocs in front of the bathrooms for people to where in so that people don’t walk into the bathroom then track back out onto the mats. When I started past the Crocs to the bathrooms, I was politely redirected. By the end of class when we rolled, I felt like part of the family there. I didn’t sit out a single round during the rolling after class even though there was only one other gal there. I got some pointers and some compliments and lots of “hope you come backs.” I even met a fellow who grew up just down the road from where I live now, 1600 miles away.
I’ll be much more likely to check out new gyms as I travel, now, thanks to the great folks at 10th Planet Las Vegas, and I’ll definitely be back there next time I’m in Sin City. Don’t talk yourself out of a great experience by being worried about the possibility of a bad one.
And because everything is better with pictures: