I have no idea how that happened, actually. I just kept showing up, and then one day it’s been four years since I first starting letting fellas smash my face into a mat for fun.
Sadly, I do not get to celebrate with more face smashing. Instead, I’m sitting on my couch this week because my left knee — until this point the only major joint to be not injured — decided to join the rest of the joints on the injury list with a loud pop + pain last week. Sadness. Walking is alright, as are stairs; it hurts then, but only as an ache. I could train through that, but there are certain ranges of motion that induce ice-pick stabbing pain, and those I could not train through.
However, something I have learned in the last year — particularly the last 6 months when I’ve had so many injuries that required resting time — is that BJJ does not go anywhere. Oh, I used to think it would, and I’d fret and worrywart, and I’d envy those still training while I was sidelined and I was sure that I would forget everything while they learned the one secret or tip or technique that I’d been missing all this time.
I think, though, that I was more afraid that I would change in my time off the mat and that I wouldn’t want to go back even though right at that moment BJJ seemed like the most important thing ever. I was afraid that I’d discover all the fun things there are to do in life that don’t involve smelling the mats or bruises or excess laundry and that I wouldn’t want to come back. And while I have discovered other fun things and now like to make time to do them — like reading, crocheting, gardening, even cleaning my house! — I’ve also realized that I do like BJJ, I do enjoy doing it, and I do want to continue.
I guess you could say that I’ve gotten past the “I have a crush on BJJ” phase and am moving on to a more serious long-term relationship. It helps that I’m in a place where things seem to work, where I can see what needs more work, where I feel as though my body is responding appropriately (minus the injuries, of course), where I’m (finally!) starting to let thoughts & attitudes go, and where I actually feel good about my progress.
There’s still a long way to go and so much more to learn, and I’m sure there will be more hard and harder times ahead — but I’ve been with it this long, seems like I’ll stay around a while longer.