“For those that scoff at the idea that survival has to be the foundation for jiu-jitsu, look no further than your older students. Gone are the days of superior athleticism and endless endurance, so the emphasis has to be on defense.” -Saulo Ribeiro, Jiu-Jitsu University
Whenever I’m about to roll with someone I’ve never trained with before, I’m always a little nervous (regardless of their belt color), so until I know what I’m dealing with, I try to focus on survival. I don’t want to get injured any more than is necessary (since it takes longer to heal at my age!), so I have to be serious about my defense, and sometimes that includes tapping a bunch of times, because it means I get to live to grapple another day. There is a fine line between not surrendering and knowing when it’s time to tap, and I think I walk it pretty well.
So, yesterday when I rolled with our new Brazilian brown belt Alejandro for the first time, I went into it thinking “It doesn’t matter how many times he submits me, I just have to survive!”, and as you can tell by the fact that I’m writing this post, I succeeded, I’m still alive! It’s even better than that, because I didn’t tap at all (he didn’t attempt any submissions), and afterward he told me “Good job, for real.”, and I actually believed him!
During class last night, The Professor said that BJJ is a young man’s game, and being neither young nor a man, I know the odds aren’t in my favor, but I didn’t started training Jiu-Jitsu to win the game, I just wanted to be able to survive. After everything I’ve struggled with on this journey, the fact that I’m even still training is a proof that I’m a survivor, because I’ve outlasted many others, and I’ve never given up.
“I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” – John D. Rockefeller