“This is not an easy sport”.
That was a favourite saying of a former coach of mine. I can’t say I disagree with him. We’re not standing 7 feet 9.25 inches from a dart board with a pint in hand. We’re here getting our ego checked, and facing failure every time we get on the mat. That’s very confronting.
As I have said many times before “Every time you get on the mat, you can and will be tested”. It doesn’t matter how practiced, how skilled, how long you have been training, you can and will get caught, sometimes by training partners you’re not supposed to lose to. A friend of mine who is a brown belt, was visiting a club and was having the last roll with a white belt, the only pair still rolling while everyone looked on. The white belt caught a submission and the brown belt tapped. It wasn’t supposed to go down that way, but that is how it goes some time.
Everyone has their struggles with Jiu Jitsu. Not necessarily the same issues. Not necessarily all the time.
It’s not just a case of getting caught when you’re not supposed to. Maybe you have a lot of things in your life, demanding you attention. Work, family, other activities and commitments. You can’t train twice a day, every day, as a world champion or a teenager living at home might be able to do. You might be struggling just to make it on the mat twice a week.
Maybe your frustrated with not getting the results you want, or progressing as fast as you would like. Or maybe you are injured, and can’t train with the level and focus you desire. It could be that your general fitness isn’t where it needs to be, and that makes everything harder.
Perhaps you have a fear. A fear of failure, a fear of losing, a fear of getting injured, or a fear of other people thinking you don’t deserve your grade. Maybe you training partners are younger, faster or stronger, and you find it hard to even believe you could ever achieve victory over them.
As Chris Haueter says in ROLL: Jiu-Jitsu in SoCal “It’s not who’s good, it’s who’s left”. This is a war of attrition. Just making it on the mat one more day is an achievement.
Enjoy the good times, when it all comes together, and you can do no wrong. Equally you need to weather the tough times, to be able to make it to the next patch of sunshine. These tough times are where your ego will get checked and your character will be built. These are the only rewards you can count on in Jiu Jitsu, not stripes, not belts, not gold medals.
This is not an easy sport.
The struggle is real.
You are not alone.
Welcome to Struggletown.