It's all about...ME!

The phrase, it's all about me, is not necessarily a welcoming thought among most Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.  This type of sentiment could be misinterpreted as someone who is self-centered and only concerned about themselves.  It's all about me, whether spoken or acted upon can be a toxic mixture within a school. It can cause turmoil or worst yet injuries.   And you know what...you're right.  However I also believe that it being all about me, is not necessarily a self-centered comment.  But in fact a definition of who we are within any given Jiu-Jitsu community.  That it being all about me defines my commitment, method for learning and overall Jiu-Jitsu style.

Commitment takes time and time is not a luxury for me.  I don't have ten to fifteen hours a week to devote to training.  I have a job, a wife and three kids.   Each kid has activities, we all have our community related activities and finally ensuring quality family time.  Therefore, realistically I have about three to four hours a week to train.  Which in the grand scheme of things is not a lot of time, however is a big commitment at this stage in my life.

Something else which defines my commitment, is my age.  I'm not a young hipster, I'm half a century old.  But I refuse to let  my age dictate my participation.  However because of my age, I do have to be mindful of injuries.  Especially if the injury impedes my ability to earn a living.  Because then my injuries may impact my family as well.  So taking all these factors into account, I see my commitment level in Jiu-Jitsu as a hobbyist.  A person who gets to enjoy the relationships, challenges and benefits of rolling but most likely will never compete in any major tournaments.

So moving on to my method of learning.  It typically falls into the kinesthetic and tactile learning style, with a little bit of auditory thrown in.  So in an ideal world, I should be able to watch a demonstration, master the drill and voila I've mastered the technique.  Well that's not the case in Jiu-Jitsu.  And my method of learning is further compounded by my attention span.   Even at fifty, I still have a hard time maintaining a long attention span. For instance, any number of great professors could be demonstrating a basic or cool bad-assery technique.  But my mind is off thinking about my Ford Mustang, projects at work or just paying the bills.

A little ADD honesty  for a moment, because I believe it's worth sharing.  Before I started Jiu-Jitsu and was watching as a parent, I thought this doesn't look that hard, because I accomplished this or I accomplished that. Thinking in the first person singular pronoun as I watched on with arrogance. Yet needless to say I was humbled very quickly.  So I recommend, if you're going to do Jiu-Jitsu and use the pronoun "I", use it this way.  "How can I help you?" or "What can I do to improve?"...just keeping it real folks!

So returning back to the original discussion at hand.  I found myself in a dilemma.  I found there were many moving parts to this activity and it would require additional effort on my part.  Meaning I may not progress as quickly as others.  That the details do matter and I will have to put in more time than others to fundamentally grasp the basics. Case in point.

Recently I started drilling outside of normal class time with someone I highly respect.  My extra curricular drilling, coincidentally began during a time in which some students begin preparing for mid year evaluations. It also coincided around the time of receiving the last stripe for my belt.  So naturally I began to field questions from wonderful people, about whether I was drilling for my evaluation.   And to each of them, I answered with a courteous no and explained why.  I really don't care about the color of my belt...truth.   I also don't want to cram for a test, to then two weeks down the road forget everything I crammed for.  I really want to move to the next level as a solid practitioner at my current belt.  And if it takes longer than others, so be it.   Now in no way am I being critical of others who take this approach.  Because I know some who have done just that and are very successful.  However I'm not one of those people.  I'm a average guy, with finite amount of time to drill and who requires extra practice.

Finally, my method of learning segue's nice in to my style of Jiu-Jitsu.  So within the last year, I've been paying more attention to discussion(s) about this style vs that style.  And at first, those discussions were foreign to me.  Simply put, I  thought it was all Jiu-Jitsu.  However the way I interpret these discussions today is just a difference between defensive Jiu-Jitsu and competition Jiu-Jitsu.  And while I'm not here writing about the merits either way.  I will acknowledge that the distinctions are obvious.  However it leads me to the following question.  What is my style of Jiu-Jitsu?  And that has not yet truly been determined.  I would say my overall style is...evolving.

I'm a simpleton by nature.  I work in an environment where to many steps equals inefficiency and we must always look for ways at reducing costs or steps in order to maximize the same benefit at a cheaper price.  Or in Jiu-Jitsu terms, submitting quicker with fewer steps. Therefore my personal philosophy about Jiu-Jitsu is if a technique requires more than four steps, it's wasted time for me (revert back to previously mentioned attention span).   That's just me folks.  It's not a repudiation on any technique, it's just acknowledging what is most efficient for me.  However I also need to be open minded.  Case in point.  I had a long held belief that a certain set of similar techniques would not necessarily prove beneficial for me.  I based this upon my misconception, body type and the amount of steps necessary to complete the techniques.  But over time, I've learned I'm actually capable of performing some of the techniques.  And that with continued practice I should be able to bundle them into my my evolving style of Jiu-Jitsu.

So in closing, I acknowledge the judicial care in not being a self-centered person within the Jiu-Jitsu community.  However I also will defend the notion that Jiu-Jitsu is All About...ME!


Peace, Love & Chokes,

Will h.

























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