Dave is excited. It’s finally Saturday, open mat day at the Jiu-Jitsu gym. Everyone in Dave’s circle knows just how much he’s been looking forward to open mat. Class was just not in the cards this week with all that adulting Dave had to do, like reading Jeffery Dahmer’s wiki and getting into a comment war on reddit over lab grown beef. That TikTok and Insta story got the message across though – “Hey team, been swapped with making those dollars and studying. Free hugs coming soon. See you on the mats. Oss .”
Dave washes those already clean Hayabusa spats again to get ready. He packs them underneath his new Shoyoroll gi and one stripe blue belt. Even though everyone at open mat will be training NoGi, they’ll still be able to peep his new drip and be reminded of his color belt status. It’s an underappreciated artform to come up with just the right social media check-in post should be before rolling. “Rise and grind! Ossssss”
Dave has no time for breakfast. Besides, training fasted helps heat shock proteins materialize. Now… what to listen to on the drive…? Psh… No question… John Danaher on the Lex Fridman discussing humans grappling gorillas (for the 11th time).
The parking lot is packed but there’s that space (handicap) up front that’s always clear. Backing in is a little tough with that giant JiuJiteriro decal on the back glass, but it’s pretty sick. Rogan was right! Dave’s RoKa sunglasses can handle ANYTHING, even the 5-yard trek across the parking lot to the shaded sidewalk.
Dave checks his Tatami gym bag to make sure he’s got everything… mouth guard, protein powder, BCAA’s, Bang, tape, towel, massage gun, headgear, knee brace, other knee brace, backup flipflops… Ooof … a little heavy… RIGHT HAND LEFT HAND RIGHT AGAIN. Does he NEED all that gear? Not really, but bag curls on the way in will get a nice pump in those pythons. Is that the sound of a horse drawn carriage or Dave’s Havaianas flip flops echoing off the building?
While dumping out his Roll Forever water bottle into the water fountain only to fill it right back up, Dave throws an up-nod to the cute girl at the front desk. She acts oblivious. While taking every piece of gear out of his bag, Dave’s blue belt to accidently falls out. “Well, guess I won’t be needing this today.” No one says anything but Dave uses it to do an overhead stretch. Takes about 15 minutes to change because he keeps getting notifications on his dope check-in status. Dave stuffs all his gear back in bag leaving the grading bar of his belt hang out of the zipper.
Rolling started 50 minutes ago, but Dave likes to give everyone a chance to warm up (get tired) before he comes in. With an “Osss”, an exaggerated bow, and an audible slap to his thighs, he respectfully steps onto the mat. In an empty corner, he runs through his self-created warm up routine. He starts by looking up and down constantly to warm up his neck (not to avoid eye contact from upper belts). Some DDP Yoga mixed with capoeira… warming up is critical to aid a healthy training day. After 22 minutes and 7 diamond cutters, time to put on the finger tape. More head warm ups as Dave trots off the mat. All ten fingers and toes are tapped to the max. Keenan would approve. Monkey tape works wonders for your grips and hand pain they say. A big gulp from his water bottle, a few swishes back and forth, Dave spits into the water fountain like a prize boxer between rounds.
Ready to Roll… right after Dave checks his IG notifications again. Dang, it sucks when you gotta wiz right before rolling. Nearly 5 minutes in the bathroom, Dave takes a few mirror selfies since the lighting on the rash looks better than at home. Back to the mats, phone in hand, to get some good video for his IG Reel. Ten seconds of everyone else rolling and circling back to his own face should do. He got the rolling footage but he doesn’t look sweaty enough in the video. Dave wets his hand from his water bottle before redoing the Reel. Much better. “vIdEo Or iT dIdN’t HaPpeN!” and… post.
Dave fishes out his mouth guard, and adjusts it for the next four minutes. He takes a seat on the edge by the wall with a prolonged dad-groan. Dave begins to do more neck stretch when all of the sudden, a purple belt bro comes over. “You good bro?” It’s clear Dave has been through the ringer already, so he head nods, “hard rolls today.” Bro answers, “yea bro, always. You down for one?” Before Dave can respond, bro notices his hand is bound in more tape than a Christmas present wrapped by a single dad. “Oh no. We can go easy, like flowy?” Bro asks. The stress was heighted, but not to worry. Timing is everything. Dave nods and butt scooted forward two scoots. The planned heels to the mat scoots caused his calves to cramp up immediately. “Ah dang… You good, bro?”. Bro gives a double tap shoulder pat and moves on.
Dave does a cool shrimp side roll combo thingy back to edge of the mat. Open mat officially ended 10 minutes ago. As everyone drags themselves from the mat after all that hard work, Dave sips on his water and slips his Havaianas back on. Satisfied, he heads out before his instructor, who was rolling the whole time, is able to speak with him about coming to regular classes. Dave grabs his Tatami bag with belt still half zipped up, and flings it on his shoulder. Anxious, he checks his phone groaning and twisting side to side before wandering to his car. Only 7 likes, but it’s early on. Dave listens to John and Lex discuss gorillas for the 12th time on the way home. One more post… a pic of his post-training Açaí bowl, right after eating a double quarter pounder meal that he didn’t post about.
As Dave showers, swapping back and forth between Defense and Armbar soaps, he decides his purple belt should be coming any day now. Dave won’t be one of those disappearing blue belts.
But, hey, Jiu-Jitsu isn’t for everybody….