No matter how stressed I am before Jiu-Jitsu class, I usually feel peaceful afterwards, and I’ve realized that my anxiety is less about my performance, and more about who I train with. My comfort level with my partners varies greatly, largely depending on how well I know them, but at Lincoln BJJ I’m lucky to have several awesome people who I’ve been training with for years, and the advanced class last night was especially fun, because in an unusual twist, I only rolled with Tumbleweed. There were just six students of greatly varying sizes in class (Mike, Adam, Shane, Henry, Lucas, Me), so Professor Gregory had us stay with our drilling partners for all of rolling, and since we continued with the knee on belly theme, I was especially glad to work with Mike for positional sparring, because he doesn’t outweigh me by too much. Even though he wasn’t feeling good yesterday, he probably submitted me about the same number of times as usual (which is a lot ;), but I think I did a pretty good job of keeping him off my back, which is where he always seems to want to be!
During class last night, a student said he saw stars when his partner was practicing one of the chokes on him, and Mike remarked that he wanted to tell people if they were ever curious about what it feels like to die, then they should train BJJ, but somehow I doubt that would be a great selling point, because I don’t think most people actually want that experience. I guess I don’t believe that the average person understands how empowering it is to have someone really trying to choke you out (or break your limbs), and gaining the ability to stop them. Even when I can’t prevent it (like basically every time I roll with Mike ;), it still makes all the other stresses of life seem insignificant, because at least no one’s trying to kill me!
I have died a thousand deaths in Jiu-Jitsu (and Tumbleweed is a serial killer ;), but after every one, I’ve been born again, better and stronger than I was before. Mike may be correct that you can train BJJ to see what it might feel like to die, but I prefer to do it because it makes me feel alive.
“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” -Dylan Thomas