Yesterday marked one year into my training. I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on that.
I found out about my BJJ club from a girl at a bar on my birthday. She was part of a bachelorette party that was running around soliciting guys for drinks for the bride. Being a nice guy, I bought a few dollar shots. We got to talking, she told me about her BJJ club and I was definitely interested. At that point in my life, I was somewhat depressed. My sister had just died the year prior, and I was looking for something to get me off the couch.
I’d trained Karate before, and enjoyed it. I looked around, but there weren’t any Karate clubs worth a damn in my area. I enjoyed the grappling aspects of my Army Combatives training, so I was interested in BJJ to begin with. It was serendipity that she was at the bar on that night.
The first time I went in, I wasn’t sure about the club. It was being taught by two blue belts. I didn’t think much of the facilities. However, I got in and tried it. I rolled my first class and I was hooked. One of the reasons why the facilities are so unimpressive is because they only charge $40 dollars a month. The price was right, and it was fun, so I stuck around.
I haven’t gotten to train nearly as much as I’d like. I have a day job, a toddler, and I go to school. I’m also a military reservist, and I have drill at the worst possible moments. I have, however, logged over 100 hours on the mats in that year. While that doesn’t sound too impressive to some, it is an achievement for me. I’m proud of the time I’ve put in.
I’ve also suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for years. I’m happy to say that my symptoms are much better since I’ve started BJJ. I used to have spells where I could barely get out of bed. Now, I merely get exhausted easily, which is the primary reason I have avoided competition. While I’m not cured, and I still have bad days, they are much fewer and far between than they used to be.
As a grappler, I’ve grown by leaps and bounds. That is a direct reflection of the good training partners I’ve had. I’m at a point where people have trouble submitting me. I still don’t actually submit that many people, but everybody I roll with is either much more experienced or much larger than me. I will take not being steamrolled by the 240lb man over submitting somebody my own size any day of the week. I am still actively hunting for submissions though.
Over the next year, I have a lot of goals in mind. Obviously, I want to improve my physical fitness. I recently started putting on weight again (happens every winter), and have started cutting that off. I’m happy to say that I’m down to 170.6 as of this morning (started at 177 10 days ago). I’m trying to get down to around 160, but I’ll just be happy with an improved physique. I try not to put too much pressure on myself over the weight thing. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, and I’m not a professional athlete. I’m generally just worried about overall health.
I also want to improve my Jiu Jitsu. I want to be assertive and get more submission. I want to be better at escaping bad positions, and maybe even compete. I know for this, I’ll have to dedicate myself to coming more often that I have (I average 2 days a week). After I graduate in May, I’m going to rededicate myself to attending at least 3 classes during the week, and then the Saturday class whenever I’m able. I know it sounds like excuses, but I really do have a lack of time these days.
My goal is also to become a blue belt by next march. I’m a 2-stripe white belt now. I’ll likely get a third stripe next month during our next grading. This is a highly doable goal, as long as I train consistently, and two years seems to be the median goal in our association for average players.
I also want to compete this year. I know there is a large competition in May, but I have drill that weekend. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually; just life conspires against me at times.
Overall, I’m so happy with my progress over the last year. I love being associated to my club, and I love that I can see my progress every time I roll. I’ve learned so much, and made so many friends. The only thing that I would try to change is adding more time on the mat.