To be honest I've been a little overwhelmed lately with all the things going on. Family, work, training, blog, tournament, competing, t-shirts, posters, logos, patches, new gym and more training, hehe. And while I take most things in my life seriously and want to do the best of my ability, not everything can be given equal attention. I'm not much of a multi-tasker so things get done one thing at a time. With all of this on my mind, I look forward to training to relieve me of all that stresses me. But sometimes I turn what should be a stress-release into another chore, taking away the fun from training and learning. In my pursuit of wanting to get better, improve upon my mistakes from the last comp and just all around kick-ass, I get worse, haha. Whether I realize it at the time or not, I've been told from time to time that I don't look like I'm having much fun and that's a sad thing to hear. Perhaps I need a break or make time to get the other things in my life settled (work work work) so that come 6:30pm, it's on.

Whenever someone asks me why I train jiu-jitsu with all the injuries I've taken and the substantial amount of time I give to it week after week, my answer is always, "Cause it's fun." I love the challenge that it gives me, the challenge I get to impose on others, the friendships I've made and the journey of discovery and expression. Of any activity that I've chosen for myself, I would have to say this is probably the most positive and rewarding. So when this truly positive thing in my life becomes sour, it's probably a sign that I need to relax and get back to that place where I can have fun again.

I recently was listening to some older interviews on the fightworks podcast, particularly with Fabio Santos. And in this interview he talks about his daily life and what he does for himself so that it doesn't all come down on him. And while it's not a huge stretch from the jiu-jitsu lifestyle that we sometimes see on the DVDs, Fabio surfs to clear his mind and take a break from the gym. I'm sure without this other interest, teaching and training jiu-jitsu can be just as daunting and exhausting as your desk-job. 20+ years of teaching jiu-jitsu, you're definitely going to have your good and bad days. In another interview Rodrigo Medeiros shares a similar sentiment on jiu-jitsu as a living. It's a job, and there are responsibilities and challenges like any business. Just because it's something you love doesn't mean it's going to be great all the time or even work out unless you have the determination, discipline and ability to do it for the long haul.

I believe that in time, I will become a black-belt, it's just a matter of not giving up and and even then I'm sure it will be a new challenge of learning and discovery. What I don't want to do is to keep myself from enjoying the journey. I'm sure this is just a small bump in the many to come and nothing special as we've all got our challenges on and off the mat.



Anonymous said...

Ask yourself whether its more important to be the baddest-ass blue belt for a few years and then burn out, or whether it's more important to be patient, have fun, focus on being technical and minimizing injuries.

In terms of scheduling, you might even make to black belt FASTER if you minimize injuries - since injuries often sideline people for long stretches of time.

It's the old tortoise/hare thing. Except most people don't realized the tortoise won because of consistency which came from not being bored. The hare started fast but lost interest. :-)

Just my 2 cents from another bjj'er grappling with just the same issues.

Jem said...

Thanks for sharing Luke :)
I think everyone that trains feels this way at one time or another.
I am fortunate to train with Luke and he is one of the most technical fighters and is always willing to share everything he learns with everyone regardless of belt colour, age, sex etc.
You sound like you have soooo much going on. You are doing an awesome job with this blog and you are doing so much for the upcoming tournament too. This on top of work, family time and training! I don't know how you do it!
When we become serious about a sport and compete on a regular basis, these feelings are bound to come up (plus, the traffic at this time of year is CRAZY and that alone can inspire negativity ;) ) and I believe that most people need to remind themselves that they do it because they love it and to have fun, so you are not alone :)
Thanks for being open and honest with your blog.
PS. You are still a badass with your knee ride ;)

Anonymous said...

BTW, your work on this blog is probably one of the single best things being done for BJJ in both Thailand and "SE Asia".

I don't think there is a "hard copy" publication encouraging BJJ in your region, and I don't see how a hard copy publication could even reach the scattered audience it would serve, but thanks to the internet and your valiant efforts there IS a great BJJ community developing in the Kingdom.

So if you have to choose between cutting back from 5 days a week on the mat to 3, or cut back on the blog, make sure you have your priorities straight and cut back on the mat time!

Seriously, BJJ will only gain "mass" in the land of smiles if it is popularized, and your blog goes a long way towards accomplishing that. If it doesn't have "mass," you won't have training partners and black belts won't start relocating there or at least spending some extended "guest stays" over there. (Think: if Guam can get Fowler, Thailand should get _____, ______, and _____.)

Now all you need is a Thai correspondent to post an occasional article in Thai on your blog so that the many Thai students of BJJ, and potential students, get more encouragement.

Yeah, I know, that's a bit of a stretch, there ARE some Thai's who are interested, or would be interested, and I think the long term future of BJJ in Thailand is in the hands of the college students there, more than in the hands of ex-pats. So figure out how to reach out to them too!


LUKE said...

Thanks everyone for your support. I thought it worth sharing my experience cause I'm sure it's a common one. Once you catch the jiu-jitsu bug it's hard to let go or take too much time away from training but then how much does that leave for the rest of your life.

I like the 'tortoise/hare' metaphor quite a bit. I have to catch myself from being the hare and know that things will come in due time. Just have to be consistent and steady in my training, focused while still having fun. I used to be a competitive swimmer for 10+ years and definitely burned out on that. Provided I was no Phelps but I just didn't dig the challenge anymore, you know.

Jem, you're just the best. I'm striving to be a more technical fighter mixed with the pitbull, haha. Thanks

I totally agree that in order for this sport to grow it needs to be from the local community. Nothing against the expats but on average, their stay here is roughly 3 years. You get some great training buddies and then their off to another assignment, that's just how it is. When I first started getting into the scene here in SEA, I saw there was an opportunity and I still think there is so much that can be done to connect everyone together. The tournament we are putting on in Bangkok and the work being done with the BJJAT, I believe we're taking steps in the right direction to educating the public about BJJ. We will even have news coverage of the tournament with the Thai newspaper.

In addition to the blog, I am opening a BJJ academy in downtown Bangkok. Right now we just have open-mat three times a week. Tuesday/Thursday @ 7-8:30am and Saturday 11am-1pm. The space will be upgraded in the next month or so and then full classes will be held. This is in full cooperation and support of the established clubs like BFC and EMAC. We don't see it as taking anything away from each other, we see it as another step in growing the community here. I have nothing but respect and appreciation for both schools. Without BFC, there was no place for me to train when I first came here and now with EMAC, I feel the foundation has been made for Thai interest to the sport.

OK, before this becomes a full blog post. Just want to thank you guys for sharing and helping me out. Thanks, Luke