I don’t know about you, but this year has had several highs and lows for me. I equate this to jiu-jitsu because it’s the one constant in my life outside of family. I use my time on the mats to heal, de-stress, regroup and yes, even forget the life outside the academy doors for a spell. Jiu-jitsu is a balm. Now it’s not like that for everyone but let’s face it, any physical exercise the requires mental and physical strain (or is taxing on those faculties) is going to change how you feel; even if you look at it scientifically and start talking about endorphins and serotonin and yadda, yadda! Committing yourself to something is a great feeling, having like-minded people around you builds a sense of community and creating bonds with these people, again another feel good emotion. So as I was saying, highs and lows, peaks and valleys, the good and the bad… but meh, the lows are more like fleeting blips in time that have taught me an invaluable lesson, and led to many great moments that, as I look back, fill my memories with all of that sweet touchy feely happiness. I’ve set my goals high this year. And here is what I really wanted to talk about in this last article before we start 2015! I have high expectations for myself, maybe too high. But that’s ok because I’m aware of it and use this as motivation and fuel for the drive that keeps me awake at night and working out when I’m exhausted. Because I know that my expectations for myself are high, I don’t become angry. I become more reflective as to why I didn’t reach a certain goal as I expected. Regardless of your rank, skill, ability or age setting goals is a great way to keep focus.
* If not sure what you should be looking at for goals for yourself in jiujitsu, ask yourself questions such as: have I been utilizing the techniques taught; do I use my time efficiently on the mats; am I training enough; is there something realistic that I’d like to learn that I missed, didn’t understand, or gave up on because I thought it “didn’t work?”… you can also do some reflecting with your Professor
* If you’ve never competed before, & it’s something you’re interested in, now may be a good time to start doing your research. Is your team setting their sights on a tourney that would be a good fit for you. Again, your teammates and Professor are a good resource
* Setting higher goals: have steps for these goals. It can be very discouraging to try and go from A to F without acknowledging you’ve accomplished B-E. This will help keep you on track and motivated!
* Never tried nogi? Welll heck, here’s a great opportunity to branch out and get a little cross-training in!
* If you’re well accomplished at your weight level, trying the Absolute or moving up a weight level is a great way to challenge yourself and your technique. Rolling with various people in class, if not the status quo, is also a great idea!
* Never done a sub only? Hop on board. Again, do your research and be sure you’re comfortable with the tourney you’d be attending, talk with your Professor & teammates. Personally I find sub-only to be a ton of fun!
* Setting your sights on a tournament outside your local area is always a good self-challenge. New people to compete against, not sure what to expect, and new refs, etc! For those veteran competitors it can give you that electric, new kid on the block feeling again!
* Not familiar with that many people at your school? Put yourself out there, step outside your comfort zone and introduce yourself. Whether it’s a newbie or that higher belt, respect demands respect; and it’s always nice to place a name with a face.
* Only train during the day or night? Switch it up! You could be missing out on some great instruction, connections, and training partners. Maybe there’s someone who will challenge you in a different way in one of the other classes!
* Last but not least, make sure your goals are reflective of what you hope to achieve… no not hope, but will achieve this year during your jiu-jitsu journey; being one of the aforementioned items or something else. Keep it true to you, not what sounds impressive or cool; not what you think will make your Professor and teammates give you a high-5. It’s all about you, so go out there and own it.