It’s been almost 4 years since I started jiu-jitsu training. I never thought that jiu-jitsu was something that I would even try let alone stick to with this amount of passion and enthusiasm. I actually never knew I had this level of commitment in me – but once again, beyond the technique, that is what jiu-jitsu has taught me.
I’ve mentioned before that when I got started with jiu-jitsu I didn’t even think about the belts. I wanted to learn how to defend myself for a specific purpose. Perhaps it is having clear reason of why I wanted to train that has kept me on the mats, but I also know it wouldn’t have been possible without my passion and my commitment to making this practice part of my lifestyle.
Deciding to train in this martial art tests your commitment at various levels:
First of all, you have to commit to coming to class and training regularly. Each person has his/her own reason for training – for self-defense, as a casual hobby, for weight loss, as part of their MMA training – but regardless of the specific reason, if you want to learn, it won’t happen unless you show up.
I know that life doesn’t always go according to plan and you sometimes get thrown curveballs that keep you off the mats – whether it’s financial issues, family commitments, or work pressures. It can be frustrating, particularly when the issues are out of your control, such as needing to take a break due to illness or injury or not being able to train due to travel. I’ve come discover that no matter what, I have some level of jiu-jitsu interaction every single day. I’m usually the mats – training or teaching – but if I can’t be on the mats, then I’m reviewing my notes, reading jiu-jitsu articles, writing about jiu-jitsu, or watching and studying jiu-jitsu videos/lessons. It was this reflection that made me realize that jiu-jitsu was definitely a part of my life. Knowing that I am fully committed to my practice also makes it easier for when I can’t make it to the mats. There are some days when a looming deadline consumes my time and mental energy, keeping me from the mats. I find relief in knowing any time away is only temporary – my commitment is unwavering and that’s what’s important in the long run.
When it comes to actually training, I’ve been focusing on being more committed to my techniques. Learning new moves isn’t easy, but what is easy is to give up after a few tries and claim – no, this is not for me. In my last post about courage, I talked about finding the courage to try and work on those techniques that you find most difficult. The undeniable truth is that if you don’t practice you won’t improve, so commit to the technique. This point doesn’t just have to do with practice, it also has to do with sparring. A few months ago when I was reflecting on my practice, I realized that I wasn’t always giving 100%. I’d start a move – whether it was a pass, a sweep, or submission – but somewhere between initiation and completion I lost that umph that was needed to make the technique work. It sank in when my instructor taught me the north south choke and he said – the trick to this move is committing to it. It’s a slow burner so you’ve just got to believe it will work. Don’t give up until they tap.
learning the north south choke
This was the perfect example for me. It was a slow-burning choke so I knew I wasn’t going to crank my teammate’s neck or hurt them. With that concern out of the way, I could focus on just the technique. It was a practice in patience. It was a practice in believing in what I was doing and committing to it until it worked.
trying to put the north south choke into action
Once I learned the technique, I put it into motion … and although I have successfully managed to use the submission several times now, beyond the technique the lesson I took away was that of commitment.
This falls right in line with my last aspect of commitment – that is commitment to yourself. When my techniques weren’t working it wasn’t just that I didn’t commit to the technique, I also didn’t commit to myself. I wasn’t giving myself a chance to succeed. Why? I don’t know. However, I knew it was something that I needed to (and still need to) work on. I understand the value of going with the flow, particularly when you’re sparring, but that doesn’t mean not going for something 100% the first time. It just means that you need to be open to adapting to a new position or technique and then resetting your commitment.
Links to other posts in this series: