What's up friends!? Today I'm really happy and proud to be bringing you a guest post from an awesome training partner- Chris Payne. I think you will agree that this is an insightful and honest reflection on the struggles of anyone on their BJJ journey. I really hope Chris keeps writing and would love to bring more of his guest blogs to you in the future.
BTW... Chris hits his scissor sweep on me 100% of the time! So ask him any questions you have on scissor sweep secrets in the comments!!!
Without any further ado- friends, this is Chris Payne.
As a 3 stripe blue belt I tell white belts who ask me about making progress in BJJ and grading that they should never worry about grading, and that progress in BJJ takes a long time. I have countless times reassured frustrated team mates who feel there just not get any better at Jiu jitsu that even if they are not noticing it, they are improving and that they should never compare themselves to others as people learn at different rates.
Having had this conversation a hundred times you would think I would be able to take my own advice and not fall victim to the trap of self doubt, but unfortunately I do find myself questioning my place and ability in BJJ. I have been a blue belt now for 3 and a half years and I have been grappling for nearly 7. In that time I have been over taken by many old team mates in grading. One guy who I used to smash as a white belt and who started years after me has now got his purple belt, and some of my mma team mates have now gotten their brown. And then there’s me, seemingly stuck as a average blue belt who wins some medals here or there, but who relys on the same few sweeps from guard to rack up points wins in competitions and rarely submits opponents.
I have found myself questioning why I just don’t seem able to evolve? I know 100’s of techniques but when I compete I’m still using the same few techniques I did when I first got my blue belt. It’s as if the last 3 years of lessons never happened. Admittedly my game has brought me a little success, I have won 7 medals at blue belt, 1 gold 2 silver and 4 bronze. But If I’m honest I have been treading water for a long time in BJJ.
I train as much as I can, but it can be tough to train as much as I would like. I have a disabled daughter and a wife who is a nurse and works shifts. So depending on her work pattern sometimes I have to be at home with my little girl. I normally train 2 to 3 sessions a week but sometimes if life gets in the way I may only train once. Also my wife, as much as I love her, I think it’s fair to say is not as passionate about my BJJ journey as I am. She regularly complains about how much time I train and even when I ask her if it’s ok if I go train and she agrees, you can tell in her reaction that she is not thrilled with the idea.
Sometimes when I’m at my most frustrated I toy with the idea of quitting and then there are times when I have done well in sparing and I feel that I’m on top of the world and I will never quit. I think the truth of the matter is I have been grappling so long now it’s just what I do. The sport is as much a part of who I am as anything else. I’m a father, husband, dustcart driver and grappler.
So how does one get past the mental blocks, doubts and the seemingly endless plateau's of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Despite what I tell those white belts, I don’t know. I think self doubt frustration and comparing yourself to others are just being part of being human. I think the truth is we all have these thoughts, not just in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but in life also. I think all you can do is just keep plugging away and trust that one day it will all fall into place, What else can you do? Yes you could quit, tap out because the journeys hard, but nothing in life that’s worth while is easy. If you quit because it’s tough you will never make progress, not just in Jiu Jitsu but in life also. And most importantly if you quit you won’t be able to choke people out anymore. At least not without going to prison anyway.
I wish I had the answer to why I seemingly don’t make progress and get overtaken by my peers. And I wish I knew how to banish the doubts that come with it, but I don’t. But what i do know is BJJ is worth it.
See you on the mats.