I try to maintain a positive attitude about BJJ, but it’s not always easy to do, because I know I’m not stupid, but sometimes Jiu-Jitsu makes me feel that way. Many of the techniques and concepts have been initially difficult for me to grasp, and things which others pick up instinctively are not so apparent to me. Perhaps it’s due to not being naturally athletic, or because I am predominately right-brained, so I’m not as talented with details and sequences as I am with imagination and daydreaming (which doesn’t seem to help me improve very much in BJJ!).
When it came to learning techniques in the past, I would have a hard time remembering what was demonstrated, so someone would have to walk me through it (like I now do with the kids), and I didn’t always understand what I was doing, I was just mimicking. Now after years of training, it’s as though I’ve taught my brain how to learn Jiu-Jitsu (but I’m still working on how to do it!). When I’m faced with a technique I’ve never done before, I can usually break it down and remember it without any help. I can also understand the principles behind it, but I still don’t always grasp all of the details without further explanation, and just because I can figure something out, it doesn’t mean I can actually execute it, or even remember it a week later.
I’ve always felt as though if I ever quit Jiu-Jitsu, it would because I was tired of feeling like an idiot, and I wish I could say that I never feel stupid anymore, but the sad truth is that I still do, a lot of the time. While I definitely understand BJJ better, there are still things that are over my head, and when I’m rolling, I continue to do things that I know are stupid, so it makes it hard to not feel like I belong in a remedial Jiu-Jitsu class. I think I should know better by now, but at least I’m more aware of my mistakes than I used to be.
Sometimes it’s hard to not get discouraged when it feels like there are some lessons I can’t seem to learn, but I guess what keeps me going is knowing that while I will never be a Jiu-Jitsu genius, I’m not nearly as stupid as I once was. My BJJ intelligence has been steadily on the rise, and since Jiu-Jitsu has no graduation, nor do they expel you for stupidity, the only way I won’t keep getting smarter is if I drop out.
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
-Joshua J. Marine