Have you ever said something like this, “If I only knew this when I was younger I would have done it differently”?..I know I have. Well listen up because I’m going to share with you a couple things I wish someone would have taught me as a blue belt.
First, not every day has to be a fight to the death! The first two years of my training were hard, I would be completely wiped after training and would literally pass out on the living room floor. The year was 1997 and I was a brand new blue belt under Relson Gracie. Being a “Houle” and young military man stationed in Hawaii, I was not exactly everyone’s favorite person. Training was grueling and hard but I kept showing up and kept getting better… I wanted to beat everyone!
The mindset I had didn’t allow for me to explore Jiu-Jitsu the way I do now. Slowing down the game, playing out of the bad spots and having a curious mind allows your game to advance leaps and bounds. Don’t get me wrong you need these battles with your mat “nemesis” to develop your timing and mental toughness, just not everyday. Go hard or go home isn’t always the best idea when your training Jiu-Jitsu. When you train 100% every time, you either get hurt or you hurt someone else and no one will want to roll with you!
Second, what you do today you pay for in the future. Training as a competitor is no joke! You are pushing yourself to the breaking point everyday, at least it was for me. Training like that day in and day out for over a decade your body is going accumulate damage over time. If you have ever met a guy like me, you know we look rough and have to “badges” of decades of grappling to show how “gentle” Jiu-Jitsu can be. Mangled ears, hands that look like you had a run in with the mob, being young but moving like an elderly person…despite it all, I love the life Jiu-Jitsu has given me. I’m humbled everyday I step on the mat to teach and pass down this art.
I will leave you with this, train to discover and learn Jiu-Jitsu, play in all the bad spots, do more light to medium rolling than “balls to the wall” and remember it’s awesome to get submitted because it shows you where you need work.
Train hard, train smart and train safe!