|Me @ Copa De Hong Kong II in 2007|
I think we're all aware that the journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the most part is slow and steady. Granted, we'll have our break-thrus here and there but unless you're one of those unique few that train 2-3 times a day, 6-days a week then it's going to be a decent ride for us normal folk. Should you be able to dedicate that much time to training then the trade off may be much less room in your life for other things. Neither path is bad of course and I've always subscribed to what's best for the individual based on their personal goals. But sometimes we have to remind ourselves as to which path we're taking in order to keep the right perspective that will keep training a positive experience.
In the seven+ years that I've been training jiu-jitsu, the period that I trained most often and competed most often was through white and blue-belt. My circumstances were different then, much different. I was single, younger and in a new city with not much else to do outside of work, hahaha. Which is what made BJJ so special and rewarding since it saved me from getting into a lot of trouble which is not a hard thing to come by in Bangkok. I am soon to be 5-years married, father of two and running several businesses. The blog by the way is my hobby even if it doesn't seem like it at times. So I've gone from training 6x times a week to anywhere from 1x to 4x times a week depending on my schedule with work and family.
It's with these changes in my life that I've come to conflict with what I want and what the reality of my circumstances will allow. I could put a number of things aside in order to dedicate myself to training but then my family and work would suffer. So I've found a balance where I get to enjoy training without adding undue pressure on myself. Pressure that could possibly promote me to push myself harder than my body will allow, giving way to injury or the injuring of others. Perhaps burnout and lose interest or aimlessly attend class without having much focus to improve.
How I've come to understand this about myself is through the example of my teammates. In every academy you'll see a variety of students from different age groups and walks of life. All of whom will have different goals and expectations. You begin to gauge which partners you'll be able to go 100% with, who to slow things down with and practice defense and those that have your number every single time. For example: This guy is a father of two, has your 9-5 job but is limited on when he can train because he doesn't want to give up his evenings with his kids, making sure to be there when they get home from school and to share dinner with them. This guy trains two evenings, two mornings (7am) and squeezes in the lunch-training when there's a buddy available. On the days that he's home, he may do some weight training in his garage. Then you have the retiree that is still healthy and strong with full-grown kids so he's basically got his life back. Trains and competes all he wants but isn't necessarily coming in every day. Then there's the single young guy that may or may not have a job but trains all the time and doesn't ever seem to get tired. He aspires to be a world champion and is fixated on destroying everyone regardless if you're a beginner or veteran.
I believe there is something to gain from each example and while this doesn't represent everyone, it gives you an idea of what I mean. When comparing my circumstances to these other guys, how do my goals align or differ. Obviously I won't be elated if either of these guys catches me and forces me to tap but at the end of the day I'm not going to torture myself since there's always tomorrow. Come back, train, learn, improve...don't stop. Perhaps personal trials with training is not something we always make public but as I get older, I realize my focus about what I do needs to increase. I don't have the luxury of having ample free-time to myself but that's come with positive changes in my life too. I'm just looking for where the balance is so that I don't give up on what I believe to be such a positive influence on me, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Thanks for reading my rambling if you made it this far.