For this story in Easton Training Center’s Back on the Mat series, we interviewed jiu-jitsu student Madeline Nealis about her experience this year and trusting your training partners.
Madeline originally found Easton and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on her birthday three years ago. Like most of us, she needed a change and wanted to challenge herself. What better day of the year to start than your birthday; A new beginning!
Like most of us at Easton, something that started as a new way to challenge both our body and mind quickly turned into an obsession. Madeline found herself training daily and when she wasn’t on the mats, she was thinking of the new techniques she learned from our amazing professors and how she can choke out her newfound friends.
Two years later, Madeline had earned her blue belt and then WHAM, a pandemic hit.
Without the outlet of BJJ, Madeline needed to fill that void. She did in the great outdoors. Hikes, bike rides, and other endeavors into nature kept her body moving but as we all know, nothing replaces that feeling of fist bumping your buddy and then trying to tap them out.
Easton was ahead of the curve in both closing to keep our members safe and then in reopening with strict guidelines. At first, Madeline held off as she was visiting family and didn’t want to compromise their health, but once she was back from her homeland of Canada she was ready to get back to rolling.
Madeline admits it was strange times at first. Small groups, wearing a mask, and having your temperature checked every day was a small price to pay to getting back on the mats and her passion.
Madeline has confidence in being back on the mats and staying healthy because of her trust in her partners. Easton is unlike any other school. In BJJ it is important to trust your partners. We are trusting them with our bodies, be it an armbar or a deep rear naked. We must have the confidence in knowing they will take care of us and they must feel the same.
Coming back after the “great pause” was no different for Madeline. With everyone looking at one another with caution, wondering if they were potentially a COVID-19 carrier, Madeline had to once again place trust in her training partners. Trusting they were keeping their circles small, that if they were exposed they wouldn’t show up, and if they felt for any reason they may have contracted COVID-19 they would let their partners know.
While things may have changed for everyone on this planet, those that practice BJJ have had their world flipped upside down. But, regardless of this, one thing remains true and will always be the North Star at the Easton academies. That is, we must always be able to trust our training partners. Madeline does and is actively training to achieve her purple belt.
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