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Finding Your Place in Jiu-jitsu

Finding Your Place

I have read statistics on why people who started bjj decide to stop training. Among the main reasons are injury, lack of finances or time because of work or family schedule. At the top of the list was the feeling of discouragement and the frustration of not making any progress.

ALL and I mean ALL students of bjj experience frustrating slumps and obstacles at times. It is a part of learning any endeavour that is challenging. If it was easy, we would not value it as much.

read also:5 Obstacles to Overcome in Your BJJ Training

However, much of that frustration is self created.  We become discouraged when we feel that “we aren’t getting as good as fast as we ‘should’”. Attaching a time frame to how fast you should achieve a blue belt would be one example.

Comparing yourself to other students (with different age, talent and time) can also lead to self-doubt and diminished of your enjoyment of training. It is an unfair comparison to watch a video of the young competitive phenomenon who are training 3 times per day at the top academies and compare yourself.

As a student of bjj who may have a family and career, such comparisons are unrealistic and may adversely affect how we see our own bjj. For the “hobbyist” in bjj who is attending class at the academy 2-4 times a week, they need to avoid comparing themselves with the top, professional athletes.

read also: Confidence in Your Jiu-jitsu : Confidence in Your Jiu-jitsu : Wise Advice from Coach John Wooden

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Find your own place in jiu-jitsu.

For some it will be competing, but for many others it may be helping teach kids classes. Being one of the first to welcome the new students and show them a few moves.

Important roles in the academy.

For many, focus on personal training goals and self-improvement will be the most satisfying way that they enjoy brazilian jiu-jitsu.

“If we pay attention to and allow jiu-jitsu to make a difference in our daily lives by applying what we learn on the mat to daily life, we open ourselves up to an exciting path of personal growth that helps us make large steps to improve in what really matters to us.” Prof. Flavio Almeida

I was experiencing some discouragement with my own jiu-jitsu training. Hampered by some chronic long-term injuries (back and knee) I started to stagnate at purple belt. When I looked at black belts, I didn’t see how I could ever achieve that goal given my limited training time and injury problems. But a visit to Brazil helped me change my philosophy and helped me find MY place in jiu-jitsu.

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You see, in many communities in North America the only black belts students see are either:

1) School owners who spend 6 days a week at the gym and a great number of hours training per week

2) Young, high level competitors who relocated from Brazil to make money teaching

In Brazil I was surprised to meet “regular” black belts. Guys who had careers in other areas and just continued to train a long time and graduate to black belt. I could not be one of the 25 year old competitive superstars, BUT I could aspire to be one of those “regular” black belts.

Resetting my expectations also reignited my enthusiasm for training and I showed up at the academy with renewed energy. In 4 more years I graduated to black belt when at one time I seriously considered leaving.

What is YOUR place in jiu-jitsu?

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