A BJJ brown belt on your team is apparently “fine” after a sound he describes as “normal” and everyone else describes as “horrific” erupted from his ankle during a roll last week.
The brown belt (whose name will not be written until we are sure he will not suddenly appear behind us as we gaze into a bathroom mirror) was placed in a toehold during a roll. As you applied the submission, his ankle made a noise that sounded like a gunshot combined with ripping paper combined with the screams of a thousand tortured souls. “Ah, yeah, it does that sometimes,” he reportedly said with a shrug.
The brown belt, who insisted that the cause of the ungodly sound “kinda felt good,” then continued rolling. He gave no other indication that the sins of mankind had been neatly compressed and stored in his ankle joint.
Initially, you told the Jiu-Jitsu Times, you believed your teammate. “He’s never been the type to avoid tapping for the sake of his ego, and hey, almost a decade of doing this — you’re bound to have some weird clicks and cracks here and there, right?” you said. Your teammates confirmed this, though three of them haven’t returned to the gym since that evening. Follow-up calls to their residences have not been returned.
The brown belt has been back to train without so much as a limp, you told the Jiu-Jitsu Times. When asked if he feels any residual pain from the incident, the brown belt replied, “From… what? Oh, that toehold that freaked out my training partner? Nah, don’t worry. That’s normal. Honestly, I forgot all about it until you brought it up. Is this really news?”
But while the brown belt “forgot” about the sound, your ears have not. You awaken to sweat-soaked sheets in the middle of the night, thinking you’ve heard a demon crunching a femur in half, only to find a house that is silent except for your pounding heart. Your knuckles ache to be cracked, but you refrain, wondering what curse you may unleash upon the world if you indulge in this tiny bit of relief. One day, you found a fresh, bleeding scratch on your finger, and yes, we’ve since confirmed that it was from that white belt who never cuts his nails, but what if it wasn’t?
The sound haunts you, but then, so do the words, “That’s normal.” Because now, after hearing what you’ve heard and seeing the casual smile on that man’s face, you can no longer be sure of what is “normal” and what is “catastrophic.” Is that really untreated ringworm on your leg, or is that just “normal”? Is it “normal” for your coach to be able to submit you that many times in one five-minute round, or is it, as you’ve quietly suspected for some time, dark magic? Is it “normal” for your walls to weep blood? Is it “normal” for your cupboard doors to fling open every day at exactly 2:00 pm? Is it “normal” that you don’t remember responding to this interview?
At press time, we can confirm that your teammate’s crackly joints are, at the very least, kinda gross.