I few years ago I had quite a bad run with injuries, I had 4 full shoulder reconstructions in the space of 3 years… yes, 4 (slap tears x 4, bicep tendon x 2, a completely ruptured pec major, rotator cuffs, AC joints… all fun stuff).
On one occasion, after being in sling for 6 weeks, I decided to have a ‘play’ after having the sling off for only 2 weeks. I promptly pulled 6 anchors out of my newly repaired right shoulder (thanks Simon 😉 and was back under the surgeons knife, and in a sling for another 8 weeks this time. Incidentally it was after this operation that I was told, for the second time in my life, that I should stop BJJ and find another hobby…. HOBBY, pfft whatever, my reply was “just chop it off and I’ll just train with my left (and you think I jest 😉
I’m not ashamed to admit I had a little cry… but what it did force me to do was focus on the fact that the 6 months I had off the mat were an opportunity to take my learning in another direction. It forced me to genuinely realize that this is a lifelong pursuit for me and in a lifetime, 6 months is nothing, a drop in the bucket, an opportunity to alter my perception and direction in the way I train..
But in these times of trial, what kept me coming to the gym, what kept me motivated and positive was the support of my family and the close knit community that I was a part of. The lifestyle and the people. Just being on the mat, sitting and watching, talking and maintaining my connection was massive to me. It made me feel that every time I came down to my church I was closer to training and I think this is where people go wrong.
To ensure our training longevity, was have to lean on the people that are there to support us. As I get older the sense of community at the gym becomes more and more important to me and we are fortunate enough to share a fantastic medium for this…. And ‘ping’ the light bulb goes on and I realize that this is Budo, true Budo… the lifestyle you live and the path you walk when practicing a martial art.
It is nothing new, it is, in fact, centuries old… but it is elusive. I have trained in a martial art for most of my life, but now, at 43, I am feeling this for the first time and to all of you that are playing a part, I thank you, even if you are not aware….
14 years and I am just figuring this out… told you I was a slow learner!