The reasons I love Jiu-Jitsu are almost as complicated as Jiu-Jitsu itself, but in the beginning one of the biggest draws for me was even though I was terrible at it, I had a lot of fun. When I was a new student and I didn’t feel as though I had any expectations on me, I could actually enjoy my awkwardness as I struggled to figure out how to move my body in all of these new and uncomfortable ways.
Then the more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know. The path seemed to grow longer every day. The perspective I gained from experience made me understand just how far I had to go.
When I made it to blue belt, I started to feel a pressure to “prove” myself, which was mostly self-imposed, but also had to do with the fact that I began to be on the senior side of rotation, so I was required to assist white belts. After a few of them treated me as though I had nothing to offer, it only reinforced my own insecurity, along with the pressure to prove that I was worthy to wear my belt.
This led to Jiu-Jitsu becoming much less fun for me. Since I felt as though grappling was the only way that I could show I did have knowledge and skill, I put expectations on myself with every roll. Expectations which I most often did not live up to. I found that even when I did meet expectations, it didn’t really change anything about how I felt, or how I was treated.
So I decided that to fully get my fun back in Jiu-Jitsu, I have to let go of all expectations, both those which I put on myself, and the ones I imagine others have for me. No more pressure, no more need to prove myself, no more negativity.
My new mindset allowed me to have a great time in Jiu-Jitsu class yesterday. I laughed at my mistakes, and I didn’t even become frustrated and/or quit when towards the end of class during the king of the mat guard-passing, I pulled a calf muscle. I hurts quite a bit, but I can walk on it, so I think it’s just a minor setback. I’m going to try to keep on the sunny side of life.
On that note, if you haven’t seen this Simpsons BJJ reference yet, you should watch it…