It’s not easy. It never has been, and likely never will be.
From the day you made the decision to start training there have likely been struggles. Starting with walking into the academy the first day. Likely not knowing anyone, not knowing the protocols, etiquette, etcetera. Hopefully your first class was friendly, but I would be willing to bet regardless of how friendly everyone was, you likely did not have an easy day.
I remember my first time walking in the building and stepping on the mats. I thought I would be just fine, after all, I could bench a decent amount of weight and had spent more than my fair share of time in front of the gym mirror doing bicep curls.
I got smashed. Everyone was polite about it, but man did I get smashed. I was immediately hooked. How is it possible for someone to impose their will on me and I had zero ability to defend myself?
The great news is whatever it was, something made you keep coming back. Over the time that you have been training you have likely experienced a week where everything went great, you seemed to be unstoppable, as if you were able to automatically download the entire Professor John Danaher “Enter The System” series into your brain and apply it all flawlessly. (wouldn’t that be nice? There is no way to do that as of now, but we will certainly keep you posted if that becomes available).
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More likely than not, you’ve probably had more weeks that were the exact opposite of this where you came in, expecting to do decent and got smashed… by everyone…. Even the kids’ class… Ok, maybe that was just me that happened to, maybe you have been slightly luckier than I in that regard.
Along the way, especially if you are a purple belt or higher rank, you almost certainly have experienced some bumps along the road as a result of your personal life that have impacted your training. Maybe you took a new job with different hours, or a location that made it hard for you to train. Maybe there was a new relationship, or maybe a relationship ended, either way, this may have impacted your mat time either in a positive, or negative way.
Train Jiu Jitsu… It will change your life. This statement could not be more accurate. My guess is if you put yourself in any one of the scenarios above, or any other one for that matter, as a white belt, and then replay that same scenario as a blue belt, and then a purple belt and so on all the way to black belt your response would be different at each level. As a white belt we start to learn to handle stress, how to redirect it and harness it to aid our training.
This, like your Jiu Jitsu will develop over time. Jiu Jitsu will teach your not only how to handle pressure, but how to prioritize problems and work towards a resolution. Jiu Jitsu teaches you to find yourself, and in doing that, you are capable of reaching a level of happiness others can only dream of. Jiu Jitsu will change the way you look at everything, your job, your priorities, your hobbies and ultimately your happiness.
I’m not here to sell you on Jiu Jitsu, but I can certainly say it has changed my life. I am a much more calm, happy person than I was before Jiu Jitsu. It’s not something anyone can explain to you; it is just something you need to experience for yourself.
The point here is everyone on the mats has a different story. We have all taken a different path to get to the mats together, and while we may be together on the mats with friends that likely eventually become family, the easy days will not stop, and eventually, you will fall in love with the process.
How will you handle the tough days? Will you be pulled to the mats? Or will you run from the mats? Will it depend on what kind of hard day it is? Is a hard day at work different than a hard day of getting beat up on the mats?
At the end of the day, how you respond to the things that happen in life will determine your success both on and off the mats. I think the academy and your Jiu Jitsu “family” certainly play a part in this but ultimately it comes down to discipline. This will be harder in the beginning but the longer you train, the more you realize the healing powers of Jiu Jitsu and how much you want and need to be on the mats with your academy family as much as possible.
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How you face adversity on and off the mats will determine who you are and who you become. In the words of Professor Tom DeBlass “There are no easy days”. If nothing else, keep showing up, pushing forward and doing what you can, day in and day out. Progress and or success may not be apparent, but as you look back six months, a year, or more you will see jus how far you have come. Keep grinding!
When things get tough it is always a good idea to keep it simple and go back to the basics, even if it’s not your Jiu Jitsu that is the struggle, the familiarity of the fundamental techniques will help ease any outside stresses. I would recommend checking out “BJJ Fundamentals: Pin Escapes and Turtle Escapes” by Professor John Danaher. Much like his “Enter The System” series each volume is packed with detailed video instruction and explanation behind the technique giving you everything you need to be successful in learning and applying the technique in class or in your next live training session.
The amazing John Danaher has released his first DVD in the Gi! Check out his DVD “Go Further Faster: Pin Escapes and Turtle Escapes“. This fundamental DVD will give you the technique and insight to get to a higher level in the sport and second, to reduce the time ordinarily taken to get there. Check it out here!