When I started jiu-jitsu, there were probably at most one black belt in the whole state, two or three visitors from Brazil, and that’s it. What intrigued me about the sport was my overwhelming sense that given two people with similar builds and athletic ability, one of them despite years and hard work, may never get to black belt just based on performance. That doesn’t seem like the case anymore. Is it a good thing, or a bad thing, I’m not so sure.
I originally made this blog in order to motivate myself and chronicle my journey into old man jiu-jitsu. Part of it involved my wife at the time, but she has moved on and I have come to terms with that. I might be close to mentoring my daughter on her journey. She seems to enjoy the play and to do things with me so I’m hopeful that she gets the bug, but its possible she wont. Time will tell. I got the 2nd stripe on my blue belt, slow going but I’m improving and I roll well against both higher belts frequently and starting to experiment with white belts. My elbow is starting to give me trouble, but I will deal with it, like i dealt with my wrist and neck and back problems.
I recently read an article, which I’m not sure I can even link here about a brown belt that had been training for awhile , 9 years, and had yet to win a tournament and had come to a self realization that he was just an average joe when it comes to BJJ. I can totally relate to that for so many reasons. I’ve been training off and on for 10 years. That counts the year or so I was out due to injury and the sometimes one class a week or 2 class a week if i’m lucky kind of thing that I’ve slipped back into. I was doing judo and bjj was aside thing. I was generally hard to handle on the mat then due to my natural strength and excellent base. I did a few chokes and did armbar alot from guard or from mount. Sad to say. I’m not too far down from that road. I do only BJJ now, but my game has evolved very slowly. I still play top pretty well. I have a one strip blue belt generally due to my judo background and basics sometimes escape me. Yes, basics. Some things, I only do or see like once every 6 months or so. I have to force myself to study the small parts of moves and keep trying to use them in my game. I’m sure part of the problem is that I don’t go as often and I’m more of a recreational student. I’m hoping that forcing myself to do tournaments this year will get me in the spirit of learning. Being more proactive with learning anyways. Wish me luck
I am trying to adopt an easygoing attitude with my bjj journey and for the most part I’ve reached it. I decided several weeks ago that I would stop worrying about participating in a tournament this year and just concentrate on getting to class as often as possible and figuring out an exercise routine outside of class. I also have to worry about the money issue, but that is normal. Money shouldn’t be a problem for a little bit. I’m sure my problems are not new to most of those my age and still trying to choke people half my age, but its still frustrating as all get out. I missed last week due to a small vacation in the middle of the week and a family deal on thursday. I have committed myself to doing the two classes a week on tuesday and thursday and trying to squeeze in a sat open mat or a judo class twice a month and I will have to deal with it.
A couple of weeks ago, I almost just said ” I quit” but like always when I get to class, I wonder how I could ever stop doing this wonderful art. I was running late from work and I literally sped the whole hour drive there. I leave at around 3:45 central time so I can get to a 6:00 pm est class, with a short layover to change and pick up my mat fee. Currently i’m paying 20 dollars a week for two classes of mat fee. My wife thinks that saves us money, but it just seems less like a monthy bill to her and she can “budget” it out if need be, if you know what I mean. One of the facts of the situation that I will be taking care of.
On a good note, and perhaps a sad one, I think I’m close to in ability as I ever was on the mats. Despite last week’s layover, I am doing reasonably well in open rolls, but that might be d0 more to my attitude than anything. I tend to pull my half ass guards and fight for positions. My top game is as good as it ever was and I actually felt good rolling last night from an energy level. My guard is horrible to be honest. I fall into half guard most times, but if someone circles, even the white belts, I tend to get my guard passed. I think will work on inversion from home and see how it goes. I used to rotate around 3 different bjj classes at various times and one started doing inversions against the wall. I had probably gotten my shit blue belt at the time, and felt horribly inadequate cause i couldnt even do a side roll. I worked on it for several months from home and figured it out. Same with a single leg take down. I had been doing bent over judo style double leg takedowns forever and couldn’t do a wrestling single leg take down to save my life.
Brief but important update. Inky has divested herself completely away from bjj, which we both call judo at home but is happy to do her own thing. She started working out after work at the gym there and has been doing great, losing nearly 50 pounds so far. I have made very little strides other than getting my schedule worked out a bit. Work and life in general have been kicking my butt. I still enjoy my school and starting to feel a part of the team so to speak. My instructor moved into a bigger place, but seems hard pressed to fill it, or perhaps he is starting to feel the money crunch. I hope not. Class last night was fun. If i have gotten anything from the last 3 or 4 months is that my body is tougher and my ego is sufficiently pliable enough to take whatever else has happen.
I have a tournament in November. I know what i need to do , but I’m trying not to stress out about failing at what I need to do. I don’t stress out about the tournament too much, just being and doing my best. I have pretty much committed myself to do it, other than the last minute work or family thing that might happen, I just need to man-up and get it done.
I’ve been working on mostly half-guard and chokes lately. I usually only do large concept things like fight for underhooks and using frames and whatever we work on in class. I am really not good at remember all the little finer points of whatever learn in the class. A co-worker was telling me the 3 stages of learning, basically watching, doing and teaching, and I’ve always thought was the best way for me to learn, but alas noone for me to teach regularly. I had made an effort to find a local grappling buddy several times. Envious of those that have close friends from class that allows you work on things at various times.