When the going gets tough

I’ve made it through some rough patches in my Jiu-Jitsu journey. When I first started training, it brought up some issues that I didn’t even realize I had. Somehow it tore down all of the walls that I had built around myself, and I was forced to deal with things which I thought I had gotten over. It was also physically difficult, intellectually challenging, and emotionally uncomfortable for me, so I had to face the typical struggles of ego, as well as my own personal demons. Jiu-Jitsu was so far outside of my comfort zone that I didn’t feel as though I even belonged.

"For a seed to achieve it's greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, it's insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction." -Cynthia OccelliDuring my first couple of years of training I would frequently cry after class, and I would sometimes burst into tears right on the mat! Yeah, no wonder almost no one wanted to roll with me, right? I’m not even sure how I made it through those early days without quitting, because a big part of me completely hated it. Yet through all of the pain and struggle, I knew the work I was doing was worth it, because I could tell it was helping me heal, helping me grow, helping me become a more fully realized version of myself, instead of the shadow that I once was.

The longer I trained, the more my love for Jiu-Jitsu grew, and I personally grew along with it. Now I’m much more comfortable, my physicality has greatly improved, and I never cry during class anymore (and rarely afterward!). I truly enjoy training these days, and I laugh a lot during class! Jiu-Jitsu has absolutely been life-changing for me, and I know that with hard work comes great reward, so I’m glad I stuck with it, but even now I still go through phases where I want to quit. Those are usually brought on by the reoccurring irrational feeling that I don’t belong.

When I feel like giving up, I rarely write about it, but sometimes I talk to the person who did the most to help me survive during the difficult early days of my training, and it helps me remember why I kept doing Jiu-Jitsu in the first place. No matter how far I’ve come, it’s still hard for me, and once in awhile I have to look deep within myself to find the willpower to keep going when the going gets tough, but a friendly nudge from Conan can help.

I don’t think anyone’s BJJ journey is easy, and we all benefit from encouragement, so if you see someone struggling, help them out (especially if they’re crying! ;), and if you’re thinking about quitting yourself, share it with one of your teammates. It might help to talk to them about it, because I think many people in Jiu-Jitsu have dealt with times like those. Hell, even Kurt Osiander would throw his gi away after class, then dig it back out of the trash the next day! If nothing else, I’ve been through it, and you can always write to me.

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