Over the holidays my Jiu-Jitsu schedule was a little disrupted. Not intentionally, but mostly because I was out of town on both family trips and business. This week I got back into the swing of things with a class and an open mat roll. Man I missed it.
I’ve decided that everything in my life is easier when I’m training Jiu-Jitsu. Allow me to explain:
Here is what tonight’s open mat session was like for me:
- A great and long roll with a friend of mine who is the same rank. We went back and forth, for close to 20 minutes. One of the best open rolls I’ve ever had. We are very evenly matched. Each one of us would take an advantage, press a position, attempt a submission, but not be able to complete it. We fought to literal exhaustion, eventually my partner securing a mount and locking in an Americana on me. I had multiple chances to submit him as I had his back for a long period but I couldn’t put enough leverage on the lapel chokes that I was attempting, mostly due to my lack of technical proficiency (I know this can only be won with time). It was a great roll. It was an absolutely exhausting roll. Both of us gave our very best, and he got the best of me this time. But I felt great knowing that all that I had was given. I also felt great knowing that I pushed myself to the best that is within, and worked to absolute exhaustion.
- Next I rolled with a very technically sound Brown belt. This was utter domination, and I wasn’t the one dominating. He toyed with me. He submitted me over and over again. I think we rolled for 10 minutes (it might have been more) and he easily submitted me 6 or 7 times. I really gave my best, I just couldn’t seem to stop what he was doing. It was like I knew what was coming, in fact he could have told me what was coming and I still wouldn’t have been able to stop it. But each time I got submitted I quickly wanted to go again. It was like a fire that was being lit, that grew stronger with each successful submission attempt that he secured on me. I wanted more and more, not because I felt the need to prove myself (I’m not in his league right now), but rather because I wanted to learn. I wanted to feel the position, develop muscle memory (even if the resulting memories are slightly painful). He was great after the roll, really helpful. Took the time to talk to me, give me some pointers that will help me grow.
- Finally I rolled for a while (probably 15 minutes, potentially more) with an experienced blue belt. My fate wasn’t much different from that of the Brown belt. He passed my guard repeatedly into the same side control position. Again, I saw it coming but I couldn’t stop it. He submitted me from guard. He even caught me when I had him in my guard and I attempted a sloppy sweep (which he turned into a really nice arm lock). He is a fantastic teacher, and after each submission we would stop and talk, and slow it down, and sometimes start back in a particular position. It was like having a private class. He was awesome. He’d show me why I was submitted, and what I need to do instead. He still kicked my butt, make no mistake. But I left the session feeling like my game was improved.
In each instance tonight I was pressed to my limits. With my fellow white belt it was the limits of physical endurance. With the higher belts it was the limits of mental endurance, knowing that I would be submitted again and again. Knowing that I was basically powerless to stop it, but still giving the very best that I had, and still getting up and trying again after each submission.
Jiu-Jitsu is perhaps the hardest thing I have ever done. I haven’t really experienced anything else that consistently tests me to my limits mentally and physically the way that it does. There isn’t really anything else that I do that makes me deal with discomfort, failure, fear, exhaustion, problem solving and the need to be resourceful quite the way that Jiu-Jitsu does. That is why I am feeling like my life is better when I am training.
When I train the rest of my life is easier.
When I need to make those scary sales calls………….ha that is simple, it’s way scarier to get choked out, and go face to face with a guy who you know is much better than you, and you know it is only a matter of time before you feel a little pain.
When I need to deal with making decisions under stress…………easy, how about the stress of getting mounted by a guy heavier than you who is putting all his weight on your face and you can’t breathe, and you have to try and find a way out.
When something in my business isn’t working quite the way it should…………….no problem, I’ve had many times when I just can’t seem to lock in the submission and I ask myself, why isn’t this working, so I look for another solution.
When I need to push myself hard to meet a writing or business deadline……….I’m training myself to push to the absolute maximum that is in me every time I step on the mat.
I’ve heard it say that the real benefits of Jiu-Jitsu are experienced off the mat. I’m really starting to see and believe it. Everything seems to be easier when I train.