Nine years ago, I was looking for something to supplement my tae kwon do. That same weekend, my dad just so happened to meet a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who was moving his school practically right in my lap. I showed on the first day of class in the new place, nearly passed out during the warmup, and was hooked.
In those first few years, I lost weight, got in shape, started eating healthily, and trained like a maniac (usually 9 times/week, which was even more than the instructors!). Then the injuries started coming, and I was sidelined again and again with broken-down & busted joints. But I kept coming back for more. And then the slide started — my new job has doughnuts on Fridays and snacks the rest of the time; I didn’t have time to walk as much; I started buying less healthy food; and then I hurt more during BJJ, so I took more days off, down to 2 days/week at one point. I noticed the slide a while ago and started trying to make corrections, only to slip up as soon as someone waved a doughnut at me or when it was cold outside at 6am so I’d go back to sleep instead of going to morning class. My jiu-jitsu has slowed down to where I mostly feel like I have no idea what I’m doing; I feel slow and heavy and reactive. Yesterday I got on the scale, and I weigh as much as I did when I started.
But, that isn’t the end of this story. Yes, mistakes were made: I got lazy and complacent and expected everything to just coast along as it had been. I’m not the same person I was nine or even five years ago; my body isn’t quite the same body. I can’t just wish that it will all get better on its own, just like I can’t just expect people to fling their arms up for me to armbar (though they often do anyway, and I happily demonstrate why they should not do that). The biggest thing I need to change is my own mind and the patterns it has fallen in to, so I’m working on that guy. (The first real test will be this Friday when the doughnut box shows up again.) I will likely never be a 9 times/week fanatic again, but I know that I can still change myself in to a better me again. The one thing I have done right is that I haven’t given up on training entirely, even when I was training least; at some point, I still show back up, ready to roll.