The Downward Spiral

I don’t think I will ever really be good at Jiu-Jitsu, I just don’t know if I have it in me.  I’m aware that it takes a long time, but no matter how long I train I doubt that I will ever be more than mediocre. No matter how much I try to study, many of the lessons don’t sink in.  Of course I will improve, but I don’t believe I will ever achieve the kind of proficiency that I would like.

I keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  I constantly do things I know I shouldn’t, and I can’t seem to break the bad habits I’ve developed.  I’m still too tense when I grapple, which might be part of the reason I find myself in constant pain, and always nursing injuries.  Trying to understand Jiu-Jitsu makes me feel stupid, and I have a hard time getting my brain and body to work together.

I feel like I suck at every aspect of Jiu-Jitsu.  I am inadequate, and I make my teachers look bad, because they have taught me better than I perform.  I can’t even remember some of the basics in times of stress, which is almost every time I roll, because I can’t seem to figure out how to relax, ever.  I don’t try hard enough, or work hard enough, and I am too much of a wuss.  I’m tired, and battered, and discouraged.

Yet, even as I sink deeper into this quicksand of negativity, confident in the knowledge that I will never make it to where I want to be, I have no desire to stop trying to get there.  I may never see the top of the mountain, but every forward step is a pinnacle unto itself.

“It ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward.” -Rocky
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8 comments on “The Downward Spiral

  1. I've been training for 11+ years and some days I still feel like this. Some days I'm in the bathroom crying after all three of my daily training sessions because nothing works. I don't comment on your blog often, but I do read it regularly. I just wanted to comment and tell you that I feel like you're super hard on yourself. Obviously I've never rolled with you, but with the attitude of "I'll never be good at BJJ" you won't ever be good at BJJ. So much of making shit work on the mat is going for it without hesitation. At a recent tournament I watched a white belt literally knock himself unconscious on the floor as he half-assed a flying armbar. Does it mean he's incapable of doing a flying armbar? Well… maybe, I don't know. But he was scared to do it, and the result was a bad blow to the head.I often yell at new students for not taking a brain-based approach to BJJ, but you sound like you have the opposite problem– Overactive Brain Problems. Your body knows stuff. Let it do its thing without worrying about your brains for a while and see what happens.

  2. Thank you guys."Overactive Brain Problems" yeah, that sounds about right. My teacher Amy always tells me the same thing about being hard on myself. Goal for next class: No brains! ;)Josh, the answer is yes. Sometimes I forget to focus on that.

  3. know the feelings….I know jiujitsu is a marathon, but sometimes I feel like I just want to sprint.I know its a personal journey and its pointless comparing myself to anyone else and their journey.I know there is no real "failure" just more learning, that if I'm struggling with things, there's more I need to learn so that I can make it work.I know jiujitsu isn't about the individual techniques, but about moving and adapting and flowing through techniques.But ya know, sometimes I wish stuff I have been taught, and have drilled would just blimmin work out of the box, that my brain doesn't turn it to garbage in the heat of the moment and leaves me going "WHY?? WHY?? DID I DO THAT! I COULD OF PERFECTLY DONE THE TECHNIQUE IF MY BRAIN DIDN'T BETRAY ME!! ARGH! AM I EVER GONNA GET THIS!!!"but regardless of my frustrations,and capabilities ultimately, its what I really do *want* to do and really do want to get good at so I keep going to class.So I think as long as its the thing you WANT to do, carry on, suffer the highs and lows.

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