Saturday, May 26, 2012

Teams Build People

When I first started coming to Fabio's, I thought it would be intimidating and maybe even slightly hazardous to my joints. I mean, you have a mat full of big, sweaty guys who are spinning around and jumping and twisting limbs and choking people. Kind of intimidating.

I was quiet as a mouse for a while after I started coming there. Very shy. I think I said "I'm sorry" even if someone accidentally bumped into me.

But I realized early on that the guys at the gym were not blood thirsty meat heads who might snap my arms off if I offended them. I started noticing how they went out of their way to help me during drilling, correcting little details I was doing wrong. I noticed how most of them were careful with their weight distribution while we grappled. Many of them even instructed me on things during my grapples. Anyone that I asked to help me was more than willing to try to help me understand difficult movements and concepts. I also noticed that these guys were a part of each others lives outside of the gym and were there for each other. And soon they were there for me too.

The team, I realized, was a big family. And it's function was to built people up, not just in the techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but in character as well. People who are lacking in confidence are encouraged and strengthened. People who are prideful are humbled, but then encouraged once they realize their mistake.  People who have trouble dealing with conflict learn how to manage their anger. People who are scared are challenged to face their fears. People who are passionate are given a channel to fuel their energy into.

For me, personally, my team has helped me develop self confidence. When I first came to Fabio's, like I said, I was very much a mouse in the corner. Through competition (which I hated until the past six months or so), through hitting the wall and having to keep going, through trying and failing, I have realized that it is ok to be imperfect. In fact, it is what makes us human. When I understand that it is ok for me to make mistakes, so long as I learn from them--on and off the mat--then I have freedom to try things I would otherwise be too scared to do.

I have learned that I can survive, even when I am being squashed by a giant man. I have learned not to give up, even when it looks like I am going to lose. I have learned that patience and adaptability can beat sheer power. I have learned never to underestimate what my body--and mind--are capable of doing even when I think I have nothing left.

The question I have is, since my team has given me so much, am I paying it forward? I want the answer to be yes.

Thanks for everything, guys. You are like my family and I love you!!


Tree Frog said...

This post rules. So does your recent promotion.

Congratulations on both. The hard work you've put into rolling, writing and being yourself is appreciated.

Ashley said...

Woooo! Congrats, Allie!!! Looks good on you!

Megan said...

Great post Allie and congrats on the purple!

Ronnie Brown said...

Great post! I especially love the statement: "I have learned not to give up, even when it looks like I am going to lose."

Just goes to show that jiu-jitsu (as with any martial art) is a tool for personal development as well as technical/ physical development.