I once heard Greg tell the beginner class at Lincoln BJJ that if they want to train Jiu-Jitsu, they have to accept the fact that they’re going to hate themselves for the first year. Shit, I’ve been training Jiu-Jitsu over four times that long, and I still hate myself!
I usually try to maintain a positive attitude on this blog (and towards BJJ in general), but it’s not always easy being the worst student in the advanced class at my school. I don’t walk out of there going “I suck, oh well, tra-la-la-la-la.” It’s hard to handle losing all the time, even though I know I’m usually grappling with people who I realistically have no chance of ever beating. All of the colored belts at LBJJC are more talented than I am (and let’s not even talk about the white belts who are already better than me!), as well as being younger, bigger, stronger, and much more manly than I am (and if anyone tells you those things don’t matter, you should take a fire extinguisher to their pants, because they lie!). Still, when I say that, it just feels like I’m making excuses for why I suck.
It’s even worse that I’m aware most of the guys who I train with in the advanced class are holding back with me, yet I still can’t do much against them. Then when I do actually accomplish something good, I feel like it’s only because they let me. Yesterday during open mat I passed Jerad’s guard (with the single leg stack pass), which is the first time that has ever happened, and instead of being excited about it, I thought “Why did Jerad let me pass?”. I really don’t know if he did or didn’t, but I do know that he’s never let me pass before.
The good thing is that when I’m actually grappling, I enjoy it, no matter how badly I lose. It’s only afterward (when I think about the many things I still need to fix) that I start to hate myself. Sometimes I’m afraid it might seem like I’m not even trying, because my improvement is so slow, and with over four years behind me, I feel like I should be doing better than I am by now. I even recently had a nightmare in which The Professor told me he didn’t want me to train at Lincoln BJJ Center anymore, because I wasn’t good enough!
I don’t really hate myself for loving Jiu-Jitsu, the title of this post is slightly misleading (I just wanted to name it after the Joan Jett song!). BJJ is awesome, and loving it has made my life better in every way! What I hate is not being talented at it, but that certainly isn’t going to make me give up and quit, because you know what the only cure for sucking at BJJ is, don’t you? More BJJ! As much as I still think I suck now, it’s obvious I’m getting better, because I don’t suck nearly as much as I did my first year, or even last year!
“I think of you every night and day. You took my heart, then you took my pride away.” -Joan Jett