FIT LV back with another #feelgoodfriday. Today's topic:
5 lessons I have learned in 6 classes of Jiujitsu. (That can be applied to all aspects of life.)
As some of you may know I have recently ventured into BJJ training at Carlson Gracie Henderson, here in Nevada. Not only did I join, but my husband and kids as well. Steve and I decided to make it a family affair and start something new and hard together, something we could struggle in and get better at together.
For the past decade or so, whenever I would walk into a gym or class setting pertaining to anything physical, I have been extremely confident, because it’s what I do. I knew however, walking into BJJ class, it would be different. It was completely foreign to me. Aside from watching a few YouTube videos I knew literally nothing. While that was a cool mix of scary and exciting, it still left me with the feelings of *Holy shit what am I about to get myself into.* I imagine this is a similar feeling that many of you felt or anticipate feeling walking into the gym for the first time.
LESSON 1: EMBRACE YOUR WHITE BELT
I noticed immediately the hierarchy of respect. This is important in any learning environment. You need a leader to hold the line. To pave the way and keep the class in order. You need someone that knows what they’re doing to show you what to do and you need to be the humble student. I love the respect shown to the upper belts. The hand shakes and nods. The stripes and colors to SHOW the work that’s been put in. In the gym setting, someones physique can often leave clues to how much time under tension they’ve spent. But in BJJ you can easily see who has “earned their stripes.” I immediately loved knowing nothing. The plainest white belt in the room, a dry sponge ready to absorb everything. We need to be like this in life. Aim to learn something new every day. Be a white belt in your day to day and be willing to LEARN!!!! And show humble respect to those with more stripes than you, watch, observe, listen!
LESSON TWO: BE DISCIPLINED
The discipline piggy backs off the respect here. For adults the discipline is easier in class but watching the kids class, it takes a lot. To remember: no shoes on the mat, no feet on the floor. Feet together, stand at attention. No talking. Eyes forward. The discipline is there when the respect is there. I see the way both kids and adults look at their professor. Be disciplined to show up consistently to learn. Be disciplined to remember all of your shit. Be disciplined to tie your “belt” correctly or have your figurative “ducks in a line.” Be disciplined to continue to put in the work even when it is hard. Strengthen your discipline muscle. Too many people have gotten lazy in this life. Sleeping in, snoozing the day away with no structure, no goals, no routine. Structure and discipline can unlock so much stiffled potential.
LESSON THREE: RELAX AND BREATHE
Nothing says relax and breath like a stranger trying to choke you out at 6am. What I have learned is, in order to be great at BJJ, you have to relax and breathe. I watch the black belts roll together, they’re calm, they’re calculated, they are breathing. We need to approach life this same way. When life is challenging you, trying to squeeze every ounce of life and energy out of you, take a walk- RELAX AND BREATHE.
There was a moment in my last class, I was rolling with my good friend Christina (Hi 🍕Slice!) She was in full mount on top of me(her sitting on my rib cage with one knee on either side of me and she was leaning over me, theoretically trying to kill me.) But I could feel how tense she was, she was straining to keep me pinned down, now I was on my back, didn’t have a plan of escape yet SO, I decided my next strategy was RELAX AND BREATHE. What that brief moment of calm did for me was clear my mind, slow my heart rate down, and allow me to make a game plan for my next move. So next time you’re feeling life bottle neck you, take a walk out side, take 10: 2/3 breaths. Two seconds in, three seconds out. Feel the tension leave your body. approach the tense situation a little more relaxed with a fresh set of eyes.
LESSON FOUR: FIND THE ONE THING
This may be the single most important lesson I have been reminded of since beginning a new and hard thing. When you start something new and hard, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed, and frankly- like you suck. My only mission in class is to find ONE thing, one twinkle of hope, that revs me up for the next class. That one thing could be a validating head nod from professor, a compliment from another classmate, a skill feeling easier than the previous class, or even not tapping out during an entire round. My advice? If you are new to tracking macros or working out, or maybe you just started a new job or adventure yourself- focus on ONE thing that went right at a time. The whole rest of the class or day may feel like a shit show, just find something, a 💫twinkle of hope that you are an ounce better than the time or day before. Let the ONE THING carry you to the next.
LESSON FIVE: BABY STEPS ARE BETTER THAN NO STEPS AT ALL
This lesson is brought to you by my three, almost four year old Colton. New things are hard. New things are scary. New things are intimidating. Especially for a three year old. The boys started BJJ the same week I did. They both eagerly jumped in to the first class, which started with a warm up. After a few laps of jogging around the class, Colton looked up to see all the parents and big kids watching. His little body immediately tensed up, eyes welded with tears, and he screamed at the top of his little lungs, “I HATE THIS!!!!!!” He sat out the rest of the class and refused to talk about it the rest of the night.
As a parent, we have the difficult task of pushing our kids to do hard things but not push to the point of a bad experience or resentment down the road. I want my boys to grow up being challenged but have good memories of the activities we encouraged them to try. The next step was to go to a local shop and get the Gis(the appropriate attire) for the family. I asked Colt what color he wanted, “White, Blue, or Black.” He shouted back, “I WANT NONE OF THEM!!!! I HATE JIUJITSU!!!!!!!!!” “Okay Colty, choice of two buddy!!!!! Blue or black?” “NOTHING!!” “Okay, black it is.” After discussing what the next week of classes would be, I already decided a WIN for Colt would be just putting the Gi on and sitting next to me. If you have read Atomic Habits , this is the same strategy James Clear uses when discussing mustering up the motivation to go to the gym. Step one put your shoes on and drive to the gym parking lot. My goal for Colt for the next class was a stack, put the Gi on and sit on the mats. Gym version, put gym shoes on, drive to parking lot and walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes. Class four, my goal for Colton was to participate in ONE part of class, either the warm up, skill, or game at the end. (He ended up taking the entire class). Gym version, get to the gym: 30 minutes of movement. SOMETHING> NOTHING. KEEP SHOWING UP.
All that to say this is your reminder to embrace the suck, enjoy the journey, be willing to learn, do the hard thing. No matter how old you are or where you are at in life- it’s never too late to try something new. To get better for yourself. Some may ask, “WHY NOW?” Respond with, “WHY NOT NOW?”
As always, thanks for being here. Now go WIN the day(and put someone in a headlock!). Happy Friday Team!
Peace, Love, and Burpees.