Isolation entails a number of things. No hanging out with friends, no going to the bar, no going to the gym, and no going to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Class. Ok, the last one will only relate to a few people. I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu last year and it has grown on me like nothing before. I started out with no past martial arts experience. I wore a gi in the beginning, but soon transitioned to no gi. I like the idea of no gi better seeing how if I was to get into a scuffle on the street, no gi experience would be more useful.
BJJ has been something that I’ve wanted to try for a long time, but never had the guts to change my routine nor did I think I had the time. I was wrong on both accounts. It turns out I did have the guts to try something new and I also miraculously had the time. We sometimes underestimate how much time we have. We have a lot. I think it’s not so much of a time thing. Rather, it is looking for an excuse to not change whatever routine we’re in at the time. One day, I muscled up the mental strength to walk into that BJJ gym. I found the strength to take up BJJ by doing a simple mental exercise. I asked myself what skills I could learn that by learning them, it would make me a more confident person as a whole. And two things immediately jumped out of my head and onto my white board that sits in my room. The first one was BJJ and the second one was public speaking. It takes a lot to admit this at first, but you have to be honest with yourself. You also have to be brave enough to try something new. By that, I mean you have to be willing to get your butt kicked, look like a fool, and perhaps even made fun of. Beginning something brand new that you aren’t good at is actually one of the most courageous things you can do for those reasons. It’s going to be hard and you will take a beating weather it’s physically or mentally or both. It’s going to mess with your head and be frustrating. But I will say this, you need these lows to experience the highs. You need to see yourself progress over time. During my first days on the mats at BJJ class, I could barely get through the warm up drills. Fast forward to the first time I tapped out my opponent and I felt like a God. You live for these moments. You live for the moments that transcend you into something that you never was before. I never was someone who was confident in getting into a fight. I figured I could do alright because I’m a bigger guy, but mentally I it was something that I was uncomfortable with. Now I have proved to myself that I could. What a relief. It was a euphoric feeling. The feeling of progress is the best feeling I have ever experienced. Especially with BJJ, where results are so clear. You either tap or you get tapped. Win or lose. That’s one of the reasons that makes BJJ great. With other sports, results could be slow because you aren’t sure what to work on, or what your weakness and strengths are, or what worked because of your skill and what worked because of luck. These are all crystal clear with BJJ. Most often than not, you know exactly why you loss while sparring, and it’s easy to ask your opponent then and there to show you that move or how to defend it or what you couldn’t done differently to avoid getting into that position. That is another thing about BJJ. BJJ is one of the friendliest sports I have ever tried. Coming from basketball, which in my opinion has the most ego out of any sport, BJJ has very little ego. Why? Because it’s all on the mat. Everyone is so vulnerable. You can’t have an ego if there is someone next to you that will kick your ass. And if you are on the top of the totem pole, then they are grateful to be there and willing to help others with their development. Sure, every now and then you’ll get an idiot. It’s not a perfect world. But the chances of finding an idiot like that in BJJ are far less than other sports in my experience.
I can’t wait for gyms to open back up so I can start rolling (aka BJJ sparring) again. Look for new things to stimulate your mind and your mind will thank you. Ask yourself what your weaknesses are and where you insecurities lie. Attack those weaknesses and build yourself up. Your confidence will skyrocket and you’ll learn something useful along the way.