I don’t think anything has ever made me feel as inadequate as Jiu-Jitsu, yet at the same time, it empowers me. I’ve seen so many of my own weaknesses diminish over the years, which keeps my spirit strong, and helps when I’m struggling.
Last night was one of those times in training when I felt discombobulated, all the way from the drilling to the sparring. Sir Conan taught the advanced class, focusing on sweeps and back takes from reverse half guard, and my exact words were “I hate this position.”, but as with most things in BJJ, I mostly dislike it because I haven’t yet reached a comfortable level of understanding (and also because of the painful pressure on the ribs!). I didn’t get the hang of any of the techniques we practiced last night, and I even managed to hyperextend my thumb while drilling with Tumbleweed (but I just taped it up and kept going).
Yet, I felt great after class, because I still enjoyed the process, even if I was dissatisfied with certain outcomes. I guess after so many years, I’ve finally accepted that things may not always come easy for me, but as long as I keep trying, they will come, eventually. Just like for the white belt who tried so diligently to submit me last night but couldn’t, someday he will be able to (and it probably won’t be long). I know it sounds cliche, but there truly isn’t any such thing as a bad day in BJJ (unless you’re seriously injured), because even the worst ones will help you get better.
I’ve sometimes thought that I had plateaued and I’d never improve again, but BJJ has continually shown me how wrong I was, so now I don’t dwell on my failures as much I used to. Jiu-Jitsu is a journey that I take both alone and with others, but it’s not a race, or a competition, it’s a tool that helps me unlock my full potential, which has already proven to be much greater than I ever anticipated!