My brain is an asshole sometimes, and by sometimes I mean almost every time I roll.
“How did I get stuck in side control again? This guy is half my size and I can’t seem to do anything. I could be at home right now watching Netflix instead of feeling like this! Oh shit he’s got my back, I can’t tap to this guy, maybe I’ll fake an asthma attack. The instructor is watching and I’m looking terrible. I’ve been training for almost a decade, why do I still feel like a white belt so much? Maybe I’m not made for this. I want to quit Jiu Jitsu!” -my brain’s typical assholery
The truth is, it’s not just me who feels this way when things aren’t going well on the mats. It’s common for these negative thoughts to plague most of us. What I’ve come to realize however is that these doubts, not my opponents, are the REAL HURDLES of the Jiu Jitsu journey. They’re the very same thoughts that cause a large percentage of practitioners to hang up their belts, sometimes after only a few weeks. Many people, especially beginners, just can’t deal with it. I mean what other sport or activity do you experience this much personal negative feedback in such a short amount of time? It’s deflating and can be quite humiliating. (Ever make that gargling sound just before tapping to a choke?)
The Good News:
I’ve learned that no matter how severe these voices are, you just shake it off and get back on that wild horse, even though you’re sure to get bucked off again and again. I recall getting heel hooked 12 times in one open gym session. Bam, another one….tap! Clap hands, go again. Tap, shit! Clap hands, TAP…Son of a bitch!!! (I wasn’t swearing out loud, just to myself.;) I left class with two thoughts: 1. I suck at heel hook defense and 2. but I never gave up. Never giving up meant that the next time he and I rolled I was able to stave off a few of his attacks because I had figured out a fraction of his game. That’s often the exchange, great personal shame for a fraction of knowledge. My training parters are a great example of this philosophy too. They roll, they all tap, and at the end of class they shake hands, smile and move on with their day only to come back to the next class and do it all again. The ones who keep coming back are beginning to tap less and less. It’s both motivating and terrifying for me to see. (Terrifying because I have to face these monsters)
So yes, your brain is going to do its best to trip you up but just remember to always tack on that little asterisk at the end of a negative statement declaring: “*but I will come back again and again until I finally overcome!” You can thank me when you get your black belt, hopefully I’ll have mine by then too. 🙂