Post by: Kriszanne
For the dedicated, it may be hard to imagine why anyone would quit their bjj journey. Practitioners can agree that Jiu jitsu is like an addictive drug which continually blows your mind of its expansive universe. The possibilities and combinations are endless, and the learning never stops. Yet, it IS tough in many aspects. It’s tough on the body and it’s tough on the mind. It has this power to reach you on a deeply personal level that tests your will. Unlike its other martial art counterparts, the road to attain a black belt is almost double in length: 10 years on average. Understandably, that is a lengthy commitment of blood, sweat, and tears. As a person that’s taking the scenic route on this road, here are a few pearls for those who want to stay in the game for a long time, perhaps for life.
1. Check your Ego. If you want to continue to level up, the ego has got to go. It will be a ball and chain that will unnecessarily weigh you down. Losing is inevitable. Getting your ass kicked is guaranteed. There’s no other way to improve unless failure is embraced. Winning is in knowing - knowing the holes in your game, therefore, knowing what to improve. An improved game is so much sweeter than a mental tally of taps. Growth is a continual process of the phoenix rising out of the ashes. Be a majestic phoenix, not a douche.
2. Think like a Student. When you walk on the mat, remember that you are a student of this art. Having this mantra also helps to check the ego. Again, the bjj world is ever-expanding. There’s so much to learn. Be open-minded and respect everyone else’s journey. There’s something to be learned from everyone, even a greenhorn white-belt. Sometimes you get clued in on a little tweak that can be a game-changer. Learning keeps the game hot and fresh. Don’t go stale.
3. R&R: Rest and Recover. As mentioned, bjj is tough on the mind, body and soul. Learn your own rhythm and needs, AND honor them. Without replenishing yourself, you can burn out, get injured, or just get embittered. Then, what’s the point? If you’re in it for the long-haul, you’ll need your faculties in working order so sustenance is key. Listen to your body. Get the needed rest, eat the right foods, and find balance. Also, invest in epsom salt — by the buckets.
4. Build a Community. While jiu jitsu is a personal quest, it really helps when you’ve got your network. Not only does it help, it’s 10x more fun when it’s shared. The bjj community is amazing and strong. As it is a tough road, it helps to have bonds with people who speak this “language” and who understand the journey. In addition to having training partners to help build your game, it’s awesome to have them there to empathize through the injuries, plateaus, and losses. Also, to cheer you on and celebrate your victories. Eventually, they’re lifelong play-fight pals. Bonus.
5. Own your journey. Bjj is very personal and you’ll find yourself tested in many ways for expansion. Your growth and development is unique. Don’t compare yourself with the wins, attendance, or style of others. Every one is at a different stage of growth along the way and influenced by their own mental state in life. Don’t forget that body types come in different shapes and sizes. Comparison is the root of misery so don’t make yourself miserable. Focus on self-improvement and relish in your own growth.
6. Have fun. Bjj should 100% be fun. If it starts to feel like work -- Newsflash: you’re not getting paid to do this (well, unless you’re sponsored). In fact, you’re the one paying. So it might be time to take a vacation from the mats and refresh. The mats will be there waiting so you can always come back. You should feel inspired, awe-struck, and elated when doing this. You might even surprise yourself and come back better than before. Don’t take it so seriously. Jiu jitsu is only one part of your life and, really, it should be fun. At the end of the day, it IS just rolling around on the ground in a robe or in stretchy spandex. How seriously can you really take that?