The Turning Point
Winning in Jiu Jitsu is not always about the medals. Sometimes, Jiu Jitsu is about the changes made, which are evident in the practitioner. Case in point is my nine year old son.
For those who know my youngest son, they would all agree he is a spit fire at times and tends to have a short attention span. To paint you the picture of my son, he is like the dog Dug in the movie "Up". My son is a phenomenal squirrel hunter. However as his parents we never felt medication was the answer for him. We knew he really needed a release valve for his energy. That he needed a structured activity, a challenging environment and a place to develop focus. Therefore we first tried the more traditional athletic route...football.
We initially selected flag football, because he had expressed an interest. However we quickly learned most flag football is actually daddy ball. And unless your parent is a coach, your child would most likely not see a lot of play time. Unfortunately this turned out to be true for my son. He was hardly provided an opportunity to play and was relegated to sideline patrol. So upon completion of the season both my wife and I knew we needed to find something else that was a better physical outlet for my son. To which we found Jiu Jitsu.
So fast forward to this past weekend, where both my boys took part in another Jiu Jitsu tournament. The night before the tournament, my youngest son came to our bedroom, informing us he was going to win a medal tomorrow. And while I appreciated his enthusiasm for winning, I knew as his parent it wasn't even in the realm of possibilities. He faced nine others in his class and I knew his skill set. So I informed him, that most likely he wasn't going to win a medal and began to explain to him why. I let him know that while I truly believed in him, that given his past performance, his attention span and uncontrolled energy level, he would be very lucky to earn a bronze. However I also discussed with him what I thought he needed to do at the tournament, in order to be successful. I told him he needed to not run around the mats, stay engaged and control his pace.
So off we went to the tournament and while I hate to say it, I was right. However this is the rest of the story. My son found focus. He didn't run around the mats but stayed engaged the entire three minutes. His family witnessed a breakthrough. He could actually do Jiu Jitsu. Unfortunately his game wasn't enough to beat eight other competitors. However he won something more important than a medal...he learned self respect for himself. He finally realized he could control his pace, use his skills and actually do Jiu Jitsu.
Over the last couple of years, I often wondered if the switch would ever illuminate the bulb inside his cranium. And yesterday it finally illuminated. Yesterday I witnessed the burning of a 60 watt bulb. And while it wasn't the brightest, the bulb can always be changed to a brighter one over time.
In closing this is a testament to the school, coaches and training partners for my boy! It also speaks volumes about not giving up on others nor yourself. That eventually, the power of Jiu Jitsu will win inside of you, when given the chance.
So if it can change a nine year old, it can change you!
Peace, Love & Chokes