Keep On the Sunny Side

I was recently challenged by my husband to come up with positive things that I could say about my performance in every Jiu-Jitsu class I attend, and it hasn’t exactly been easy. If you asked me to tell you my mistakes, it would be no problem, because I have a tendency to only focus on the negatives (since those are issues I need to fix!), but it’s not like I do everything wrong, so I know there are some positives that I’m not acknowledging, or simply forgetting.

When I tried to think of good things I did in BJJ class over the past couple of days, at first it was just things like “When I bit my tongue, I didn’t take a chunk out!” (side note: I really should wear my mouthguard when I’m rolling). After that, all of the positives I could think of came with a disclaimer “During takedown sparring, I threw someone with koshi guruma! Disclaimer: it was a boy (yet he is bigger than me).”

The next phase of my positive thinking led me to things that didn’t have much to do with my actual training, but of which I’m the most proud. “When I rolled with Brooklyn in the kids’ class, I helped her remember how to do an armbar from scarf hold!” One thing I learned about myself yesterday is that I’m better at seeing what the kids are doing wrong when I’m actually rolling with them, as opposed to just watching them roll.

Finally, I was able to come up with one thing I could say that was about a positive aspect of my personal performance in each of the Jiu-Jitsu classes I attended in the past couple of days. During the beginner class on Tuesday, when I started out positional grappling with a bigger white belt on my back, I defended a choke, escaped to turtle, and then transitioned to bottom half-guard. During the advanced class on Wednesday, when I did positional grappling starting in The Professor’s guard, he only took my back twice in five minutes! I know that probably doesn’t sound very impressive, but it is for me.

I tried looking at the bright side of life. It hurt my eyes.I think sometimes I focus too much on the end result of a roll “I got submitted, therefore I suck!”, when Jiu-Jitsu is really more nuanced than that. Even though I still end up tapping most of the time when I roll with colored belts, they’re always tell me that I’m doing a lot of things right. The positives might just be that I stayed postured, or I defended four sweeps before giving up the fifth, but even the smallest success deserves to be remembered. At times I tend to succumb to The Dark Side, and a little sun doesn’t hurt.

“Well there’s a dark and a troubled side of life.
There’s a bright and a sunny side too.
But if you meet with the darkness and strife,
The sunny side we also may view.” -June Carter Cash


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