Am I a coward
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu nine month check in
When Rickson Gracie was growing up, and advancing from just having fun on the mat to being competitive with the older Gracies, he had a moment of cowardice. He tapped to pressure. Not a choke, not a joint lock, just from pressure. So when he got home, he had his brother Rolls roll him up in a carpet and leave him there for 10 minutes, no matter what Rickson said, yelled, or screamed. Rickson called it finding comfort in Hell.
LOL, I’m not doing that.
But I’m not quitting either. In fact, I’m hanging in there pretty well, making slight but consistent progress with each class. And I’m going to make my goal, should things maintain. My goal was to survive a year and then reassess whether or not jijitsu is for me.
I’m a rat. I’m surviving.
Here’s three things jujitsu has taught me. I think you’ll find these are useful tips in any walk of life:
Nowhere else have I ever consistently felt embarrassed and humiliated as I have on the BJJ mat. Why is that? Because my ego needed exactly that.
Those of you that are zen, your mileage may vary here. For me, there was a great deal of pride and imagery in my psyche that needed to be stamped out. I’m on that path now.
Nothing could have prepared me for this. I’ve never sat down with other men and consistently battled them physically and mentally in close combat. And where I have had some type of martial competition with men, such as my time in the Marines, I have never had the results be so consistently one sided. Defeat after defeat after endless defeat.
It is a good feeling to keep coming back in the face of such embarrassment. But what is even better is learning that my training partners are pulling for me to overcome my issues, and that they respect me for not giving up.
The truth is I am a coward. But I’m learning how to deal with my cowardice constructively and use it like I try to do with all my fears. It’s a tough road, but its value is too great to ignore.
Nothing clears my head like jujitsu. I walk into class with tons of energy dominating my mind. A tough week at work. Family stress. Home improvements. Friendships improving or declining.
And then it’s gone. Zapped the second I tie my belt and step on the mat. For the next 90 minutes, I am completely quiet except thoughts about jujitsu. I have never experienced this kind of consistent, prolonged focus and clear mind in any other workout I have ever done.
I can get into this quiet place by doing other practices as well. Notice your thoughts and then notice that you are noticing. Cold showers and breathing exercises get me there, too. But not for 90 minutes.
90 minutes of quiet up there is really, really pleasant.
Too much information is a problem
When I first started out on this journey, I was consuming everything I could about this sport. It was exciting. It was also somewhat detrimental.
I’m learning that complex problems require a more incremental approach. You can’t master quantum physics by trying to consume everything about the subject at once. That’s why universities have 100, 200, 300 level courses on complex subjects.
Information overload was killing me for months, but I’ve seen massive improvement lately by focusing on just a few techniques that I want to get down really well before I move on to more advanced concepts. I figured that I’m in the 100 level class and I need to focus on 100 level material, even if most of the training partners I roll with have their doctorates.
I’m already better at jijutsu than Jerome Powell is at economics or Deborah Brix is at public health. But I’m going to stick with my plan, to assess my performance at 12 months before I make any decisions about my future with the sport.
Like watching the money supply, I can see the trend and I kind of already know what will happen.
I’ll be doubling down, getting far more serious, and going for my blue belt.