One theme I’ve noticed in the martial arts is that everyone who started training before me always had it worse than I did. I mean, my Karate teachers didn’t wear protective gear when they sparred, it was bare-knuckle brawling to the death, and the Judoka didn’t have fancy mats, they just threw each other outside on the concrete, and whoever didn’t become paralyzed was the winner!
Those stories might be slightly exaggerated, but it’s true that my seniors have often told me their training was harder back in the day, and that they experienced more pain. If I would say “I think I fractured my rib.”, they would say “I once competed with three broken ribs!”.
Now that I’ve become the senior to many, I’ve noticed that I share the same lack of sympathy that was shown to me. For example, when one of my juniors at Lincoln BJJ recently dislocated his toe and went to the emergency room, I thought “Hell, I’ve dislocated three or four toes, and I just had someone pop them back in place, then I taped them up and went right back to training!”. True story.
You know, in the olden days when I started Jiu-Jitsu, they didn’t have a separate class for beginners at the dojo, they just threw us guppies right in with the sharks, and several were swallowed whole! Our rolling partners weren’t assigned, we had to fend for ourselves, and if no one wanted to roll with you, then you didn’t roll. The newbies at Lincoln BJJ Center don’t know how good they have it there, all air-conditioned and shit!
If I think I had it bad, one day Conan’s teacher just stop showing up, so he had to teach himself, and YouTube hadn’t even been invented yet! It’s not like he could just go to another school, because there weren’t any around here at the time, and in order to have training partners, Conan had to pay homeless people to roll with him! I’m just kidding about that last part…he didn’t pay them, he forced them to do it for free. Kidding again!
My seniors still have no sympathy for me, and apparently I don’t even feel sorry for children. When one of the boys in the kids class said “My whole body hurts.”, I responded “Welcome to Jiu-Jitsu.”, but I was just repeating exactly what The Professor had said to me when I lodged the same complaint!
The lack of sympathy continued yesterday during king of the mat, when I told Will that the entire right side of my body hurt, and he said “Use your left.” I guess the moral of the story is “don’t complain”, or at least don’t complain to people who have already been where you are, because they’ve experienced it all, and it was harder, therefore they are much tougher than you!