7.09.2009

IF ONLY I HAD...

I know I've said this to myself countless times, 'If only I had started training jiu-jitsu when I was in college or even earlier, how good I could be today.' With the recent fan-interview with Cobrinha I couldn't help but reflect on how we choose to see our past in relation to the present and what we may not have. Do we wish for something different or do we recognize that we are a product of it and that its OK?

We read or hear about how the champions of today getting their start at 5 years old, surrounded by legends and ate/slept/lived jiu-jitsu 24-7 (excluding Cobrinha since he started in 2000, hehe). A lifetime of training and dedication and if we could just get a bit of that, then just maybe we would be much more than what we are today. Or, we burn-out as an 18 year-old purple-belt and never train jiu-jitsu again. I've had a few friends recently get promoted to brown and black-belts and have asked them, how many of the guys they started with make it? And when I say make it, make it through all the hardship to get that coveted rank that they possess today. Most of them can count the number on one hand in contrast to the number of guys that started training at the same time to be in the double digits. I think that says a lot about the process of training/learning jiu-jitsu and how that fits in our lives at any given time. I've seen some gifted athletes just burn-out or lose interest while the rest of us scratch our heads in disbelief. 'If only I had his talent, I wouldn't quit.'

So rather than waste my time with 'if only I had', I try to refocus my energy about what I need to do to get where I want. Be happy with where you are today and stay hungry cause as long as you don't quit, you'll keep getting better. -Luke

PS- Want to thank fellow blogger Albert since his post inspired me to write this one.

14 comments:

elee said...

I think this thought whenever I see the kids train before our session. It doesn't end there, I go as far as to wish to time travel back when I was a kid and slap him silly for not getting into BJJ, Judo or Wrestling. =P

Benjo said...

Yeah Same here,
I should waste my time playing PC games or swimming rather spent my time doing Judo when i had the chance

LUKE said...

Don't knock swimming. I used to be a competitive swimmer for over 10 years and it's helped my top game tremendously, if you can imagine that. I think it's given me a great sense of balance and weight-distribution.

Anonymous said...

benjamin liu can you stop saying BS please.

Albert said...

Hey Luke,

Good post!

I think it was Chris Haueter who said something like, "you don't become a BJJ black belt by being the best, you get a BJJ black belt by being who's left"... words to that effect.

As far as talent, I saw this really cool shirt that said "hard work will always beat talent if talent doesn't work hard".

Cheers for the shout ;)

Sergio said...

Luke,
I think your "on target" with this post.

Benjo said...

Sorry there was a typing error.

I exactly meant.
I shouldn't waste my time playing PC games or Swimming rather spenting my time doing judo when i had the chance.

I was a swimmer back when i was younger, until i stop swimming around 17 years old.

Currently i am swimming when my muscles ache it help to relax the muscles

TOMI said...

I've had 14 years' experience of Judo training and I've preferred NEWAZA since I started Judo. BUT BJJ players with few years' experience beat me down always. My Judo pride have been broken always. On the other hand, I always feel I'm getting better than I used to be cos I am getting to love Judo/BJJ still. I can defeat one year's ago myself. I don't desire more than this.

Anonymous said...

really like this post. if we look ahead five years instead of back we can imagine ourselves being satisfied with sticking to it and doing the best of the time as it comes....

Gerry said...

This was a good post to keep everything in perspective. I'm a brown belt and I have seen many people get fustrated because they could not perform as well as others. They then decide to quite and miss the true meaning of BJJ . It is a lifestyle that helps each individual improve in his or her own way. Everyone starts as a white belt but not all of us finish as black belts.
Gerry

2Old said...

Hey guys, don't have regrets. I am 59 and started BJJ when I was 56. No prior wrestling or hard athletic experience, just tai chi and some aikido (when I was in college). But I had the will to start and continue. I may not be the fastest learner in class (some people are naturally talented, some normal, and some awkward, and I'm on the awkward end of the scale) but I keep it up the persistence that comes from knowing that if I quit I won't get a second chance.

The only thing that breaks MY heart is seeing people in the normal range of the scale lose heart after a while and drop out.

They want to win, they are only focused on winning, and when that goes to the naturally talented, they give up. What a shame! Even though BJJ is ultimately "knowledge" based and a more experienced player CAN, given an appropriate timeline, beat untrained but better athletes (at least until they catch up!).

So don't focus on what you didn't do 5 years ago. Focus on what you are going to do this year to get better, and have a long term game plan!

(Also here's a tip based on my antedeluvian view of life: recovery is as important as training - never assume you can "tough" injuries out or "tough out" the healing and recovery process - learn how to make sure your body can heal optimally and take time off to heal when you need it - you aren't an MMA fighter who HAS to earn that next purse, you shouldn't be in it for a 3 or 5 year horizon, but for a 10, 20, and 30 year horizon. Get therapeutic massage, use the sauna, use ice packs, take yoga, cross-train, find out what works for you and include it in your unofficial BJJ "program".)

Anonymous said...

I find that when I can't meet my expectations, I just adjust them to an appropriate level. Seriously. If I aim too high, I just get frustrated and quit. I started BJJ on a lark and do it for fun, and for that reason it's never stopped being fun for me. It cracks me up when people stress over this, when holding onto my job and feeding my family is so much more important.

LUKE said...

I think we're all given different circumstances, attributes and temperaments that play a role in our ability to train/learn jiu-jitsu. Ultimately, we each need to find where that balance is and re-establish our priorities without losing the spirit for BJJ.

I'm definitely guilty of losing sight of my priorities from time to time but am lucky enough to have the support of friends and family and understand my true intentions.

Best of luck to everyone in their journey, regardless if it's jiu-jitsu or your job. What I'm realizing more after 5 years of training is how I am applying what I learn on the mat to daily life and how I am able to cope with greater responsibility as my life changes.

LUKE said...

Getting back to enjoying the ride, training for your age/circumstance and challenging yourself. Check out the latest interview with strength/conditioning coach Steve Maxwell interview on FightworksPodcast:

http://thefightworkspodcast.com/2009/07/12/steve-maxwell-strength-conditioning/