I don’t recall the source, but when I first started training Jiu-Jitsu I read a statement which indicated that shy people could not train the art. As an incredibly shy person, reading that was a little discouraging to me, but after over three years of training Jiu-Jitsu, I can safely say that statement is simply not true. Maybe what it should have said was that training Jiu-Jitsu might be more difficult for shy people, but if you truly want to do it, you can.
When I am in groups of people, I can usually find comfort after I feel as though I have gotten to know them a little bit. One of the problems with martial arts training is that the group never stays the same, people are constantly coming and going. There are always new people to get to know and trust, which does not come easily for me. Training with ever-changing new students is one of the hardest things I have ever voluntarily done. Sometimes it’s a fight just to get myself to go to class.
In the beginning of my Jiu-Jitsu training, it was very hard for me to get used to interacting so closely with others, it’s definitely an intimate art. Now I find that I have no problem pulling complete strangers down on top of me to show them how to do a technique, or asking my seniors questions while drilling.
The one area I still have problems with, the one thing negatively affecting my training, is that it is still difficult for me to approach people. Whether it is just saying “hi” before class, asking someone to roll, or to work on something with me, I still sometimes find myself paralyzed. Some days are better than others, and overall I have improved on the matter, but every once in awhile I don’t even get to do anything during open mat, because I am too shy to approach anyone. When that happens, it’s hard to not get down on myself.
Then I think about that person who claimed I couldn’t even train Jiu-Jitsu because of my shyness, and I know that every day I am able to fight through the fear, I win. Some days I still fail, but the good days far outnumber the bad, and that seems like a success to me.