I hear people talk about training when you don’t feel like training all the time. It’s common knowledge that the days when you’re at your worst are the days that you have the most potential to develop.
But why is this true? Why is training on days you don’t feel like training so important?
Jiu-jitsu is more mental than it is physical, and training on days you don’t feel like training contributes to the mental side of training.
Here’s an analogy:
I have two teammates that love to use the scarf hold position to submit people. One of these guys is 250 pounds of awfulness; the other is a very strong, very aggressive 190 pounder. I frequently wind up in both men’s scarf hold, sometimes willingly and other times not willingly. Why do I do this to myself? Because if I can survive either man’s scarf hold, I can survive anyone’s.
Bad days are the 250 pound man’s scarf hold. I won’t survive. I cannot survive. I will get submitted. But the process of staving off submission, the micro-successes, are what build me as a practitioner. It’s hard. It hurts my ego. But what has my ego done for me lately???
Training on bad days will make your good days even better. Training on bad days will make you have what it takes in the later rounds of a tournament when you’re already running on fumes and have nothing left but spite and hate. At competition you can always tell which people are the tough bastards who roll when they don’t want to; they’re the ones drenched in sweat, visibly tired, but they just keep coming after their opponents.
Training on bad days will also make you tougher in life. Everything will seem easy after going into training when you really don’t want to.
The one caution I have for anyone who wants to step their game up by training on bad days is that your reactions may be slower on a bad day and you may be more prone to injury. As much as it may hurt your ego, tap early and tap often.
Training when you don’t really want to train is a good test of your jiu-jitsu. If you can still enjoy some success, you’re headed in the right direction, but these days will put your weaknesses under a magnifying glass and will force you to think about them. Keep at it and you’ll find new levels of understanding of jiu-jitsu.