“Pain is the best instructor, but no one wants to go to his class.” – Choi Hong Hi
I felt wrecked after the advanced BJJ class on Wednesday night. No real injuries, but a lot of sore joints and muscles, some aching ribs, bruises, tweaked fingers, and gi burn on my face. It was basically the same as how I usually feel after class, and there have been times where I’ve felt much worse, but some days it’s harder to take than others, and it depends on my attitude. Although my rolling experience on Wednesday wasn’t much different than Monday, I was feeling a little defeated, so the pain felt like a punishment for sucking, rather than a result of hard work that I could be proud of.
There are times after the advanced classes when it seems as though nothing that I tried to do worked, and it feels like I’m not getting anywhere, so combined with the lingering pain of training, it can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude. That’s when I’ll ask why I keep putting myself through it, and I’ll wonder if I really am crazy for training Jiu-Jitsu, like so many people have told me.
Then I’ll look in a mirror, and see the muscles that BJJ has helped me develop, or I’ll think about the times in my past where I felt completely helpless when being physically dominated, and I’ll realize that I’ve now developed the capacity to handle it. I’ll remember how when I first started training, I was terrified when someone pinned me, and I would panic if they covered my face, or put their arm around my neck, but these days those kind of things don’t scare me at all, they actually seem normal. I’ll recall that just a few years ago, I couldn’t even do most of the things that I now do on a regular basis, nor did I think I would ever be as skilled at BJJ as I currently am, and I’ll be reminded that every time I step on the mat, I am developing strength and abilities, and not just the physical kind, but also the mental toughness of knowing that I can survive some incredibly uncomfortable experiences. My spirit might get a little bruised, but it hasn’t been broken, and my body may be in pain (and occasionally broken ;), but the results are worth it, so if loving Jiu-Jitsu is crazy, I don’t want to be sane!