I used to tell Conan that if a Jiu-Jitsu technique required me to remember more than three things at once, then I wouldn’t be able to do it, and that was true for the longest time. I would often feel overwhelmed in class, and sometimes I didn’t understand anything. It was a few years before I even became comfortable, and I started figuring things out on my own. It took that long for me to just begin to unravel the mysteries of Jiu-Jitsu!
Then a year ago when I started training at Lincoln BJJ (after four years at the dojo), I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to hang in the advanced class. Not because of the physicality, but because I was afraid it might be too complicated. I knew we would be working on techniques I wasn’t familiar with, and I was worried it would be difficult for me to learn them, or that I would be a bad training partner, due to my lack of understanding.
To my surprise, I found that I had finally gotten to the point where new things weren’t so hard anymore, and I could break them down, usually by relating back to something I already knew. A couple of weeks ago, I was working with two white belts in the advanced class, and although the technique we were practicing was totally new to me, I understood it right away, but they struggled with it, and one of them commented on how much faster I had picked it up than they did. I looked down at my blue belt, and I thought about how far I’ve truly come.
I’ve been able to train in the advanced class at Lincoln BJJ Center for the past year, and most of the time, I actually feel like I belong there! My ability to disseminate information has greatly increased, so I can usually understand what’s going on, even if it’s something completely new to me. This has only come through years on the mat (and lots of patience!). Seriously, you have no idea how bad I was when I started training, and sometimes I can’t even believe how much less I suck at Jiu-Jitsu now!
However, there are still days when I feel as though I don’t know a damn thing, like I’ve never done BJJ a day in my life, and yesterday in the advanced class was one of those days. We were working on a sweep from deep half-guard (which is a position I don’t have much experience with), and I felt like the whole thing was over my head. The Professor asked me what my problem was with the sweep, and I said “It’s complicated!”, to which he replied “Jiu-Jitsu is complicated.” Yeah, tell me something I don’t know! ;)
The fact that feeling overwhelmed is now the exception for me, instead of the norm, shows that while I still think I’m not great at doing BJJ, I’m definitely getting better at learning it. Now I can execute techniques that require me to remember way more than three things at once, often the very first time I’m shown them! That still doesn’t mean I’ll be able to successfully use them while rolling, but I’ve sure come a long way!
The moral of the story is: Jiu-Jitsu is complicated! When I feel like I’m never totally going to get the hang of it, I just remember that there were times during my journey when I didn’t even think I’d ever be as good as I am now.