If I have discovered one thing from Jiu Jitsu, it’s that at times you just have to bear it.
You’re sore… You’re so tired you can scarcely move… You’re getting defeated …
You just have to bear it. What you learn when you do this is that sometimes - not always - the brightest insights are just on the other side of this decision.
Yesterday, I was rolling, tired, with a very competitive team mate. I was miserable. I hadn’t slept well the night before. The whole day had been a drag. I had no energy. Immediately after we started a voice in my mind started to list the ways that I could avoid engaging. I began by playing guard. I continually adjusted position to maintain distance. I was looking for any kind of outcome that would let me quit. Nothing came, so I kept going.
I had been here before. On the mats, but also in life. It went on.
Gradually, it crept up on me. Those feelings of antipathy and frustration were fading. Mere moments passed, but it was like they were never there in the first place. A few more moments and the payoff arrived. A guillotine. A tap.
I smiled, slapped hands, started again. It was easier now.
A Kimora. A tap.
By rights I ought not to have found those moments of clarity, but there they were, like there was no other way.
Because there was no other way over it, the best way was through it.
What I mean is that in our absolute depths our mind is adept at telling us what would happen if we stop, give up. We see pessimism, spun forward. The worst thing you can do is listen to that voice.
It doesn’t always get worse. What you can’t see is that there is someplace else, somewhere good—that place where taking a smashing on the mats can turn to an advantage in a heartbeat. A place where you find those frustrating hours on the mat have added to something, that the growing pains have become something better.
Jiu Jitsu is valuable because it is hard, nobody knows how a roll will end. It won’t always get worse.
What we need is to keep pushing through the ups and downs, to bear it. There may be a slight sight of goodness. What’s in that sliver of light? Its YOU. It’s your potential game plan, it’s your potential that is barely recognisable, and is adept in BJJ more than you know.
When you do Jiu Jitsu, you already know that sometimes things can get unbelievably or abruptly, and even awe-inspiringly worse. But it might not, it might get better. That’s why you stick with it. That’s why you keep rolling. That’s why you don’t quit.
Or maybe I just need to get more sleep.