Sometimes Jiu-Jitsu isn't about Jiu-Jitsu at all
Jiu-Jitsu makes you feel inadequate
After day class on Tuesday Clint made a speech which was incredibly interesting. He said 'Jiu-Jitsu has a way of making people feel inadequate'. Does it ever, when someone steps on those mats and realizes how much they don't know, and how much they can't do with the simple movement of the body it either makes them or breaks them. They either have to keep training to learn everything there is to learn or they stop because they can't handle it.
I had a really amazing conversation with one of my students this week. She is an absolutely incredible person, struggling with BJJ (don't we all at some point), and I realized the struggles in her BJJ journey weren't about BJJ at all, they were all about what was going on inside. The conversation caused me to look deep inside and find that honest vulnerability, because anything less wouldn't be enough for what she needed.
What did we talk about?
Trust the process
The frustration of not learning enough, not learning fast enough, being taught something again and again and not remembering all the details. Thing is, this is part of it. The only person that says I have to remember something right away is me and my expectations of myself. As a younger belt (white and blue), I find they are very hard on themselves and expect themselves to remember everything all the time. But the beauty of each Jiu-Jitsu technique and movement are there are so many layers to it (see my blog post layers of Jiu-Jitsu https://www.bjjsarah.com/post/4-layers-of-jiu-jitsu). A younger belt sees themselves not remembering every detail when they have only seen an armbar twice in their life. A good coach doesn't care how fast or their students learn. They just care that their students are on the mats, learning, and trying. Truth is, the first time an armbar (for example) is seen, it's simply introduced. The second time it's shown (maybe a week later, maybe a month later), the mind and body recognizes the movement, third time it's shown - maybe even some of the details are remembered. Fourth time? Maybe today it will be utilized in wrestling! Of course my younger belts won't remember everything right away, that is what the time in white and blue is for! To learn. Simply, to learn. A little bit about everything.
A good coach recognizes all of this. They don't care if you remember all the details of the armbar right away, they care that you are showing up, putting the time in, and working hard. If you are doing this then process will take care of itself.
Younger belts are all about learning the foundations. Just show up to class, and trust the process. Trust the time on the mats.
Also really helped me to understand my learning style, I used to get very frustrated with myself that I couldn’t see a technique then do it. Of course the frustration made it even worse. everyone learns differently. Visual, Auditory, and Kinetic . I learn't I am very Kinetic. I have to do the techniques, feel them, practice to really understand what is going on. I remember when I would partner with a visual partner and they could watch and do, and I would have to talk through every single grip, movement and concept. Now that I understand that I my learning style and have accepted it, it makes things a lot easier.
Only being concerned with my journey, not yours
We all look at the asshole who is a visual learner on the other side of the mat who is a lower belt or who hasn't been training as long as me and they are understanding the techniques better than I am, they are wrestling better, they are learning faster - whatever it is.
Thing to remember is, this is my journey and I have no business being jealous of their journey. They will have their own struggles as I will have mine. Our journey is our own business and each others journey is no ones business until we decide to share it and support each other. But then my own journey is still more my business than anyone elses, that's where my nose and focus belongs.
Jiu-Jitsu has a way of making me struggle and grind like hell to achieve the victories, nothing comes easy in this sport. But the victories are so damn good. Sometimes they are very obvious (like when I tap my partner), sometimes they are very hidden, and example is when I was stuck under mount for 6 minutes and couldn't escape, but in the meantime I felt how my partner controlled me and shut down all my attempts in escape and even movement. This could look like failure or frustration, or opportunity. I took it as opportunity. Through this I learn't a whole new world of mount control. Now I have been turning around and doing the same to my partners. When someone does something better than me, or gets a submission, or a dominant position - instead of being upset or frustrated I now look at what they did and how they did it. So I can both beat them to the counter and adapt to my game. It's only failure unless I decide it is.
Jiu-Jitsu teaches me every day it's about perspective. If I get tapped by a lower belt or my guard passed PRIDE tells me I suck and everyone is gonna think less of me, my MATURITY tells me I have found an opportunity for improvement. What's really gonna happen? Everyone is going for chicken dinner after and no one is going to remember my guard was passed, except me (who I now know needs better guard retention).
Jiu-Jitsu will always find ways to challenge me emotionally, physically and mentally. It's so interesting, because what I find incredibly hard someone else may not struggle at all with. Or what they struggle with I might not have a problem with, I really believe Jiu-Jitsu challenges our insecurities, pride, self-image, perspective, and so much more. It can be in a positive way or a negative way. I know if I take the time to work through what is really going in, it will be in a positive way because I am addressing what is happening and working through it. Is it easy to work through? No, but whatever is coming up is coming up for a reason, so it's time to work through it.
Why do I keep stepping on those mats every damn day, why do I keep signing up for the biggest tournaments in the world and put myself through these damn training camps?
Because I can't not take the challenge that is right in front of me. There is the easy way and hard way. Choice is mine. Why do I choose Jiu-Jitsu? Because although I don't always like the process and challenges, I am addicted to the results. It challenges me to the best version of myself possible and constantly growing. I am always finding things about myself that I need to improve, change, adjust. This of course carries over to the rest of my life in so many ways.
It's not easy but it's worth it.
1) Trust the process
2) It's my journey
3) Overcoming myself.
Maybe, just maybe we can not take it so seriously sometimes and have fun with it too. :)