It’s been three years this month since Lincoln BJJ Center first opened, and I don’t think the new students fully realize how good they have it there, because back when I started grappling at the dojo, the mats were like see-saws, so no matter how you shrimped, it was always uphill both ways. We also didn’t have any fancy gis, we made our own gis out of old newspapers (which still existed back then), and I remember at least one person died during class, when their sweat mixed with the newspaper ink, and it seeped into their bloodstream! I’ve been rolling so long that when I started training, tapping hadn’t even been invented yet, you either went to sleep or to the hospital, sometimes both.
If you’re still reading this, you should realize that I’m just being silly, but there are some nice things at Lincoln BJJ that we didn’t have when I started grappling, such as air-conditioning, classes every day of the week, multiple class options in a single day, and a large variety of training partners. It’s been especially cool that so many visitors from outside of Nebraska have stopped by to train with us, and that we’ve had the opportunity to attend seminars, and learn from accomplished black belts like Professor Greg, and his instructor Tinguinha. I feel like my Jiu-Jitsu world has grown much bigger and better since LBJJC opened, and it’s become more normalized (we’re not the black sheep anymore!).
In the future, long after I’m gone, I’m sure the students will have their own “back in the day” stories to tell, and they’ll probably be something like this “When I started training, there was only one LBJJC in Lincoln, not multiple locations like there is now, and our gis were made of regular fabric, not this new space-age material that instantly evaporates and eliminates all forms of sweat, odor, and cooties. Back in my day, we also had to supplement our training at home by watching videos, because we didn’t have the current technology that allows you to roll with holographic simulations of all the BJJ greats!”. Oh, to be a time traveler…
“Anything at all was more than we had, in the good old days when times were bad.” -Merle Haggard