The Medicine Doesn’t Always Taste Good

This isn’t meant to be discouraging, but I want to take a minute to be real with you. Not every lesson in jiu-jitsu is sunshine and rainbows. At least, it’s not dressed that way.

Two of my favorite things that are part of what make jiu-jitsu what it is.

1) There are no lies on the mats.
2) You will learn humility.

Jiu-jitsu has a way of stripping away any caricatural facade you’ve built up for yourself and holding up a very clear mirror for you and everyone else in the room to see yourself in. You cannot hide. There is no safe space. Everyone will know. And they’ve all been there themselves. I think this is one of the reasons that the bonds formed in jiu-jitsu are so strong. We’ve all seen each other at our most vulnerable and we’re ok with it. This is one of the reasons there’s an almost universal acceptance among black belts. We’re all well aware of what each other had to go through to make it to this point, and there’s a level of respect that is given virtually freely to that journey. We’ve all been humiliated to some degree or another and laid bare before our peers. You’ll go through the same, or you’ll quit. Don’t try and cheat this process. A few years of doing the hard work correctly and forthrightly is far less painful than decades of being looked at with shades of doubt.

“Pledge Allegiance To The Struggle”

Iggy Azalea

Lesson two that tends to follow lesson one is humility. You will develop it, or it will be visited upon you. Jiu-jitsu doesn’t care what you want. You will get what you deserve. “Why does this person get X, and I don’t?” You’re not them. You’re You. Be the best You that you can be and stop comparing yourself to others. The mats are cold to your wants. “But I can’t beat that guy.” No you can’t, and with that attitude, you never will, nor should you. Accept your place and get to work. You want it? Earn it. Nothing is given here. You’ll also have to learn and accept that you won’t be reaching all of your goals. The sooner that you submit to the inescapable series of ego deaths and rebirths that are part of the jiu-jitsu journey, the faster we can all move forward. Your coach or instructor can’t “give” you the lesson. They can only introduce you to the lesson and you learn it through repeated failures that lead to periodic successes. It’s call “taking classes” for a reason. Have the humility to say “I’m going to be bad at this, and it’s going to be difficult, but I’m going to make the necessary efforts and sacrifices to become as competent as possible.” If you are early in your career, and you are addicted to the light bulb moments, I have some bad news for you. Those game changing nuggets become fewer and further between the longer you stick around. You have to literally dig for them. You have to revisit what you thought you knew and start over. It would be inadvisable to make those experiences your “why”. Right now, at 12 yrs in, I’m relearning the most basic arm bar that’s one of the first techniques that white belts are taught. I had it all wrong and I couldn’t perform the technique cleanly. Get used to this. The boxes are never checked. Wherever you are in your journey is exactly where you’re supposed to be. “I feel likeā€¦” This is not a democracy. Your vote counts for zero. As it should. Delayed gratification is our most popular dish.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: