Jiu Jitsu Growth
Is there a right way?
I like to give a description of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student’s growth through two means. One, as a free roam video game and two, as a tree growing through the natural stages of growth.
It is known that those two things are far apart, in terms of relating to one another, but damn it; not everybody knows what Fallout is. (shamefully) So, hear me out, alright.
I tell my students, “There is NO growth in this world without pain.”. I think, as a white belt in bjj, this is applicable in more than one way. 😊 Whether that pain is physical, emotional, financial, relational, WHATEVER; when you grow in any area, some shits gonna get hurt somewhere to make room for that new growth.
Remember when you were a kid and having growing pains? I do! They SUCKED! But, hells yeah! Now I’m 6’2! WORTH IT!
Anyway. Back to the BJJ tree and the pains of being a white belt and beyond.
Alright. So, as a day one beginner you are a seed. One of a couple bill on the planet. BUT this particular seed happened to want to learn how to do some cool shit and, happened to tumble into a legit Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy and get planted into rich soil.
As you absorb the nutrients of your surroundings, (Academy atmosphere. Supportive people. Good Workouts. Structure.) you start to expose the potential of what is INSIDE that shell. But, what must happen first?
That shell MUST break. That shell is you stepping out of your comfort zone, trying something new and, LEARNING! Sometimes those things are painful!
Sweet. So now you’re a seedling, hardly breaking the surface as you reach for just a glimmer of light as you lose those first 15 pounds or try to get out from underneath the super heavyweight, blue belt for the first time.
After a year, you can weather a storm and not feel like you you’re going to blow away. You have strong roots and your base is set. You are beginning to look like a tree.
The Jiu Jitsu Growth Takes Off When You Show Up!
Inside this next year you’ll start to grow your main beams and branches. Off these, there will be off-shoots and twigs that, as a beginner, MUST trim. Strengthen the trunk and main beams to have healthy, optimal growth.
At three to five years, some trees produce edible fruit. This is like your blue belt/purple belt beginner’s instructor. He has been pruned, watered and fed well enough to be able to teach and produce valuable information to beginner’s.
After 6+ years in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you are a strong tree. Able to adapt to adversity and change and able to produce and foster growth in completely different ecosystems. (home, work, relationships, etc)
As you grow, many limbs will have to be trimmed and adjustments made. Just like if lightning strikes a tree and burns a bit of it or, your kid gets the bright idea to make a tree house where it won’t fit, a good arborist, (instructor) can help prune the dead, unusable or unnecessary limbs to help shape that tree back into something worth having in your yard.
Not all soil is created equally. Some consistencies of soil can flat out, kill your growth. These can manifest in terms of bad/unexperienced coaches, unhealthy egos among competitors/coaches, unhealthy and unclean academy conditions and, others.
For optimal growth, DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are levels to this stuff! Your jiu jitsu growth will only go as far as you allow!
If there is a legit black belt in your town, go to them. If not, find the next highest rank. Find where you are comfortable to speak your mind and be yourself. After all, Jiu Jitsu is about self-exploration and growth. You cannot grow without first being true to yourself and sometimes, that hurts a bit.
GROW, GROW, GROW!