Under Pressure

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…

                                  “Crawl atop me and meet your doom!”

3 comments on “Under Pressure

  1. OMG – I think we are twins separated at birth! So much of what you wrote could have been penned by me – just sub "karate" for "BJJ"…I have always been on the shy side, but excelled in track in HS and college. Started training in karate at 37 – eight whole years ago! I changed schools about three years ago – just after I graded for shodan – and promptly felt the need to "prove my belt" time and time again. I STILL feel it, and I have been a nidan for almost half a year…I also recently had a catharsis about my love for this martial thing: I know what I know – and most of what I do know, I know quite well! Had to own that, really, but it's always been true. For me, struggles in class happened when folks seemed to pooh-pooh my knowledge. Now I just flip them the bird (mentally) and keep it moving. They're missing all this fabulosity, so they get what they get. I consider them weeds on my path and start pulling them suckers out. No time for that foolishness at all…I like the fact that there is so much stuff still left to learn in my art – and that's why I keep coming back. Do YOU, hon – and enjoy your time on the mat. People will treat you as badly as you let them, I've discovered – so DON'T LET THEM, hee-hee. You can't control what they do, anyway – just how you react to it…Fist-bumping my computer screen in solidarity :-) Keep doing your thang…

  2. Thank you so much, Felicia!I also want to point out that pretty much all of the white belts who haven't respected me over the years have ended up quitting, but I'm still there. ;)

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