Bucket List #13 Earn My Blue Belt In Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian jiu jitsu, for those who don’t know, is considered a “ground” or “grappling” sport. Google defines grappling: ‘engage in a close fight or struggle without weapons; wrestle.” Essentially jiu jitsu and wrestling are very similar, though not entirely alike. Wrestling doesn’t have any submissions, for one. Jiu jitsu has become more popular and heard of thanks to the UFC and MMA. But that’s not how I heard of it.

I heard of it in a bar, during a conversation with a friend’s friend.

I have always been interesting in doing some kind of martial arts, or similar thing. I once saw a kickboxing place near where I live, and afterwards when I would drive by it I’d think to myself, I should try it. But I never did go in.

People change, though; they are constantly moving, shaping, becoming. Who I am isn’t a drive by a studio–not stoping–and thoughts echoing in my mind. Who I am is the girl who was in that bar, when some person I had just met told me about this thing called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and suggested I come in the following morning to try it out. She is the one who decided instantly, before even knowing what it was, she was going to do it.

I could have not liked it. I could have showed up to one class, and decided it was not for me I suppose. To be honest, a part of me had decided beforehand I was going to like it. Did that influence my final decision? Are your predetermined thoughts a significant influence against yourself?

Maybe, maybe not. Either way must have been the right of it, though, because in the end I love it. When I started, the school I went to put everyone in the same class–white belts to black belts. There was no curriculum, not really, and barely any stand-up; the room the gym was in was too small. It was a new school that had only just started out. Only one other girl went, and not every class. So learning jiu jitsu wasn’t as smooth as perhaps another school could have been. But none of that stopped me.

I had decided I wanted to do this, and it was now or never. I knew that if I didn’t do it here, that saying I wanted something–whatever it was–meant very little. It’s easy to imagine dreams. It’s much harder to actually pursue them. I didn’t want my dreams to be idle thoughts, with no meaning behind them.

So I kept training. I didn’t have any specific goals to start off with, unlike a lot of the other guys who trained. It was enough for me to go there, to do it. I did it because it was fun, because the people were a great bunch, and because there is something about the way it feels the next day, when sometimes the muscles in every part of your body are so sore you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, that somehow makes you feel alive. The soreness is a testament to your hard work; a reminder to your commitment. It feels good, even when you kind of feel like shit.

Eventually, I got some stripes on my white belt. And it got me thinking that, yea. I do want more. I want a blue belt. Except in typical Jamie fashion, I get distracted pretty easily. During that time it was even worse, because I hadn’t started to work towards creating solutions to working around my A.D.D. yet.

But one day, it finally happened. I got promoted. It was a pretty awesome day. The instructor makes you roll (fight) with every person in the class for a minute or so, including him once he awards a new belt. I had been training for 3 years by then.

Even now, I don’t feel like I have totally earned it yet. There just is still a lot I don’t know. Even though blue is also a beginner to a degree–you have purple, brown, and black after that–there was a lot of areas I needed to work on. But I was content to have blue knowing I have the rest of my life to keep at it.

It’s been around 2 years since I have trained regularly–jitz is expensive, and frankly, I have more important things to pay for and concentrate on at the moment. Priorities shift.

Moving, shaping becoming, right?

That doesn’t mean it’s forgotten. It doesn’t mean it’s been given up. I formed a new dream since receiving my blue belt: black belt. I don’t care if it takes me 20 years, just as long as I do it one day. I know, when it’s right for me, I’ll train again. My life will involve a mat, a Gi, and being sweaty with messy hair once more.

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One comment

  1. Jamie,
    You and I are on the same wavelength… I moved about an hour away from my former cross fit gym. No other gym has felt the same. However, I’m within 5 minutes of two jiu jitsu gyms. I trained in Virginia for a bit, and in Japan for a bit. Loved every minute of it. I was never promoted to blue, and that hunger is coming back. I want it.

    Liked by 2 people

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