Saturday, July 24, 2010

Purpose to the Pain

Warning: Dramatic Blog Ahead.

For the first time in a while, I voluntarily missed some classes. I had been feeling under the weather and needed to rest some injuries. I've been dealing with a bum shoulder for a while and haven't had a chance to get into the doctor. I plan to go in on Monday. My knees--both of them--are feeling twingy too. My right one worries me. It also has been hurting for a while. Never really been right since I hurt in that take-down about seven months ago.

I needed the rest. Not just physically. Life outside of BJJ has been pretty hectic. One of the days this week, I think Thursday, I was sick and took off from my duties at the church (we are doing a V.B.S. this week) and I slept literally all day. I also did a lot of this:

But now I am itching to get back on the mat. And I have two whole days before there will be another class. That's a good thing, I think. Two more days to ice and rest my shoulder and knee.

Been thinking a lot about the last few weeks and have been getting my head right. All of us grapple people we don't particularly want to. The reasons why we don't want to grapple them vary. I can list off a few of reasons I've complained about before: they muscle a lot, they do rude things, they crank submissions.

However, I think the real reason why I don't like grappling "certain people" is very simple: They beat me when I felt like they shouldn't have.

I don't like to think that I'm an overly competitive person. But I also don't like to think that I have to pay my bills every month. Unfortunately, me not wanting to think that doesn't make either of those things less true. I don't like losing. I don't like feeling like I didn't do as well as I should have. And that's my problem, not my opponent's problem.

What I think I lose sight of every now and then is that I am not in competition with my teammates. We are there to sharpen each other, challenge each other. If someone can pick apart my guard, that's actually a good thing, because it forces me to adapt, to grow.

But it still feels like crap.

As crappy as it feels, though, I refuse to avoid it. I see a challenge and I'm ready to attack it. I might get shut down for a while. But eventually, I will learn to deal with it. And then I'll be ready for the next challenge.

I realized also that my life in general is a lot like this. I don't have to deal with anything too horrible. But, like everyone else, I have to face situations I don't want to, deal with people I'd rather not, go through pain I wish I didn't have to. But, if I let it, these people and situations can be catalysts for times of growth in my character. They expose my weaknesses, my faults. I can either get mad at them, feel sorry for myself, or "be a man" and face it.

I want to face it. Why tap if you're not going to learn from it? Why go through all these difficulties and not take anything away from it? I want to learn from it, grow from it. Doesn't make it suck any less. But at least it brings purpose to the pain.


Dev said...

That is a FANTASTIC post. You echoed my thoughts almost exactly, and I'm taking away your attitude of attacking your fear versus conveniently avoiding those people that maul you. That's one of the hardest things to do, and I think you're doing exactly the right thing.

achy knees said...

Amen, sistah! I thinl that everyone who is honest with themselves in training BJJ has run into this "problem". I literally used to get sick to my stomach before class when I would see certain people's cars in the parking lot of the school. Then I decided to try and not worry about it. The first few times were nerve-racking, and I still have my moments (some 3 years later), but those are getting fewer and father between. You are doing the right thing!

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks guys! I definitely have a love/hate relationship with these types of people. Most of them are friends of mine off the mat, so that makes it easier for me not to be a competition crazed rage monster.

fenix said...

That's a great post. I was guilty of thinking that I'd rather not roll with this or that guy. I rarely actually turned down rolling with them, but I would approach the roll with "ok, here goes my next beating". And be so frustrated and angry with myself. And that's not good, either.

I'm getting out of it, but it was/is very hard work, to find that right balance. To be competitive but not compare and be frustrated. And to face the people who I know will probably give me trouble. One thing I recently realised, is that I may very well be a source of that anguish to others. So it cuts both ways.

I think when people start BJJ, they see the physical development that occurs with time. It is not until some time training that we realize there are some very important mental developments taking place, too. But as we face and overcome some of those little demons, we take something away that serves us outside the dojo, too.

A.D. McClish said...

@ Chirs: I absolutely agree. It is really difficult to find that balance. For me, the battle is all in my head. I have to force myself to approach it from the "the is training" mentality, not the "I have to prove myself" mentality. If I don't get my head right before I go on the mat, I will usually get frustrated.

Georgette said...

Finding that balance is one of my greatest challenges in this adventure. I find that it's almost entirely dependent on my mood in the moment, which tells you I'm not as disciplined as I should be. Great post.

Anonymous said...

So far there are only two guys I don't want to roll with in my class. One is this big guy with an attitude. I actually told him at one point that he scares me. If he were in a movie he'd be a hitman.

The other guy is a total d-bag. I GET that you're a blue belt. I GET that you're much better than me. But does that mean that you are just going to sit on me and look bored out of your mind? Ugh. And even better--ignore that I'm talking with you and joking with you and keep zoning out, dude.

I'm pretty sure that last guy was TRYING to make it so I'd never want to roll with him again. GRRRR