In the olden days when I trained Karate with Chuckles Norris (aka Backdraft Brian), back when my belt was white and his was black, he once told me that I had already accomplished the hardest part of training, which was walking through the dojo door for the first time. As someone who started later in life, it did take many years for me to work up the courage to try martial arts, but now that Chuckles and I are both blue belts at Lincoln BJJ, I think he might agree that the hardest part of Jiu-Jitsu hasn’t been initially walking in the door, because at the time we didn’t fully know what we were getting ourselves into, so the hardest part has been to keep going after we figured that out. To know just how difficult, painful, and ego-crushing it can be, but to continue walking through the door, day after day, year after year, is where I believe the true difficulty lies. I’ve seen a lot of people walk through the LBJJC door since it first opened, and I’ve also seen many of them subsequently disappear.
As far as I’m concerned, the only real talent I have for BJJ is my inability to stop walking through that door. Some days it might take every bit of my willpower to get myself there, but my reward is that I never regret it. I always gain something from training, and after Jiu-Jitsu class I never say “I wish I hadn’t done that” (no matter how much I think I sucked ;). An additional reward that I received for going to the advanced class last night was another chance to roll with The Professor, and unlike last week, this time when he tried to put me belly down on the mat, I fought it with everything I had, and he did not succeed, I even managed to get my back to the mat! Sometimes it’s just the little things that make it all seem worthwhile.
Perseverance is a common theme on this blog, because I truly believe that the only way I can really fail at Jiu-Jitsu is if I stop going to class. On the days when I feel like giving up, I often think of what Professor Greg said during the belt promotion ceremony on the day that I became a blue belt at LBJJC, about how the root of the word “passion” means “to suffer”, so the extent of your love for Jiu-Jitsu can be measured in the amount of suffering you’re willing to endure for it, and I still haven’t reached my limit yet.