Progress Report: Four Years

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.


4 thoughts on “Progress Report: Four Years

  1. Gah, I’m sorry about your knee.

    I have been through some ups and downs with BJJ. I was hardcore infatuated for about 2.5-3 years. Then I basically broke up with it– or it broke up with me– and I moved on for a while. I’m back now, but I think we’re just friends at this point. Good friends. Or maybe I’m dating around and BJJ is just one of my dates.

    • So far, I think this is a good place to be. I feel like I’m getting my priorities in order. BJJ can still be high in my priority list, but not so high that I’m neglecting the more important things.

  2. So sorry about your knee 😦 take good care of yourself.

    I have to let you know something: I came across your blog probably about a month ago and started reading through it start to finish because I really wanted an idea about what I was up against when I start jiu jitsu. I haven’t started yet, more so because I need to take care of a few more life events before jumping in to start something new. But I feel like I need to mentally prepare myself before doing this all the way, and I can’t thank you enough for sharing your thoughts and trials and everything-ness about your BJJ journey. Obviously it isn’t over yet, but I feel so much better with the resources you’ve provided that I feel that I owe you a gigantic, virtual hug.

    I’ve been doing Muay Thai Kickboxing for a year and a half, and my instructor does belt ranking for us at our school. He will be my professor in BJJ as well but I think the weirdest part will be going back to a white belt newbie in something that I realistically don’t have a clue what I am doing. I want my instructors to be proud of me still, as I know they are with my progress in kickboxing. Reading about your own mental humps have put me in a better spot to realize they obviosuly know I don’t have a clue and aren’t about to disown me for it.

    Just, in short, letting you know how much I relate to everything you’ve shared and how much I appreciate you writing it all down for me to have access to it.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    • Thank you for sharing that, Brittney. That’s the whole reason I wrote it all down — good, bad, and especially ugly — to help other people, so I’m glad to know that it has worked.

      Welcome to (wanting to start) BJJ. it’s a whole new, fun, and challenging endeavor.

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