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What If You Start To Feel Pressure Over Jiu-Jitsu?

It starts out as a fun hobby, but then things can spiral downward.

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by Paul Kindzia in Uncategorized
September 6, 2018

It Starts Out As A Fun Outlet

For many practitioners, jiu-jitsu starts out as a fun outlet.  It is new, and exciting, with new people and experiences.  It’s a good workout and you start making some friends.  It’s so much better than going to a gym and running on a treadmill (boring…)

Those first few months everything is a learning experience.  You get better with each class.  You are still confused by it all, but you know you are learning and making progress.

But often what starts out as a healthy hobby turns into some sort of pressure cooker.  You start out proud of yourself for showing up 2 or 3 times a week.  Then there is this desire to train more.  You do want to get better, don’t you?  So you start showing up 3 or 4 times a week or maybe more like 4 or 5 times a week.

You get lumped into a training group perhaps of fellow white belts that all started out around the same time.  You use them to benchmark yourself against.  Then it seems as though you are being watched, perhaps even judged.

Some training partners seem to be getting better quicker than you.  Maybe they are younger, or stronger, or more athletic?  Maybe they train even more than you?  Maybe they are just better in the beginning?  You don’t know and can only speculate.

The pressure keeps mounting and you feel like you should be going even more, learning faster, making bigger gains.  You get tapped out by someone you consider inferior, most likely a lower belt.  Are you seriously going backwards in your training?

So many people start losing perspective around that late white belt through blue belt period.  It’s as if they are in a rush to get ranked.  The next stripe is within reach.  Maybe you should compete (or compete more?)  That’s more pressure.

Soon enough you start losing perspective and what started out as a fun and healthy way to exercise and pursuing a fun hobby turns into a pressure cooker.  You feel you need to keep up.  But who are you really trying to keep up with?  How do you know that all these other people that you are comparing yourself to won’t quit soon (after all, most practitioners quit and never make black belt).

Perhaps they fell victim to the pressure too.

That’s why it is critical to keep a healthy mindset.  One of personal growth.  One that reminds us that we can transform ourselves over time with practice and diligence.  One that reminds us that a lifetime of dedication is not a race at all.  It’s a journey and one that is supposed to be fun and healthy.

Sometimes we all need a reminder that we are doing this as a fun and healthy hobby.  Very few of us will ever do it as a profession and even if that is the case, that’s a short career.  There has to be something more, something deeper to keep us on the path.  Health and happiness should be at the top of the priority list.

If your love and enthusiasm are fading at times, don’t despair.  You aren’t alone.  We all have ups and downs.  There are times that we all want to quit.  Keep going.  Push ahead.  That doesn’t mean increase the pressure and training load.  Maybe it means reducing it back to a healthy level that can be balanced.  Play the long game, not the short game.

Peace, Love, and Jiu-Jitsu

Paul

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