Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Five Year White Belt

I'm 57 and by far the oldest student in the BJJ group I train with. I could be the father of most, if not the grandfather of some of the other students.

The people I train with are faster, stronger, more athletic,and pick up the moves more quickly than I do. I also have less time to put into it.

Would I like to advance in rank some day? Of course, but how I'm measuring my progress is that I'm still showing up. Every time I step on the mat is a small victory for me.

There are people who haven't even started, quit and come back who will pass me up with regards to rank, but if I can do still be doing this when I'm 60, maybe I can still do it when I'm 65, and so on.  The rank will resolve itself.

Below is an excerpt from White Belt Jiu Jitsu, written by a five year white belt. There is a lot of good advice here, that I'd recommend to anyone training in any martial art, at any level. The full post may be read here. Enjoy.

What I Learned As A Five Year BJJ White Belt
by BJJJ1

There were several times over the years when I thought about quitting. There were days when I was getting owned by everybody on the mat, but I somehow managed to push through and made it to blue. I wanted to share some things, for the white belts out there, that made all the difference for me:

• Submit your ego. Seriously. Keep in mind that you’re there to train, not to prove.

• Try to break yourself of the “Oh well, I can’t stop this pass/sub/reversal from happening. I’m just gonna sit here and take it“- attitude. Try anyway. Struggle. If the escape you try doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work, but remember that you’re not there to prove anything. You’re there to train, so TRY. Because trying will always improve your endurance, strength, sensitivity, and experience.

• Don’t train injured.

• Ask questions. Don’t be surprised if no one gives you any kind of guidance if you keep your mouth shut the whole time.

• Be supportive of both your juniors and seniors. Set an example. You don’t need a black belt to be everybody’s favorite person to train with.

• Roll. There are too many low ranks that bounce when the mat opens up after practice. High ranks stick around and work, and low ranks that are too self-conscious to grapple wonder why high ranks are so good. Go get your ass kicked. It’s practice with your team. Get tapped out. Pick your favorite submission and go hunting. And get tapped out some more in the process.

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