Trials and Tribulations of the Mat

There is a certain point, a perceived limit, to which we can withstand or endure. Each individual path requires hardships and it is these hardships that catalyze either the growth or decay of our spirits.

These thoughts harass me as my jiu-jitsu bag is unzipped releasing the pungent odor of the present reality. What am I doing? Why am I here? And then the little voice, creating hardship: There’s no point to this. I’m not even good at this.

That voice of doubt is something that we all have within us. Those that reach elite levels of success in their own defined realm have discovered methods of silencing that voice of internal self doubt. The ‘mute’ button – ever so elusive, but also possible to be earned through years of reflective thought and discipline, or so I am told. I am able to answer my own line of questioning.  A good place to start it seems. What am I doing? What I love. Why am I here? To train. There is a point, to be better than that voice. I may not be good enough by my own high standards, but if I work hard enough I can be, and I can find peace despite my high expectations through exhaustion if nothing else.

Recently I hit a juncture with both Jiu Jitsu and life where doubt was extremely present and my motivation was evasive. The voice kept proclaiming my dreams to be fantasy, and my future reality would be a mundane job within the societal structured barracks that I strive to avoid.

Had that limit been reached? Training seemed dull and pointless, the dreams seemed further than they had ever been. I questioned my chosen route far more, and lost my

resolve due to external circumstances. There is always ups and downs as we blaze our own winding trails. Unfortunately, and fortunately there are no maps, we are the navigators and explorers.

Nic Gregoriades said it beautifully in Stuart Cooper’s film ‘The Spirit of Jiu Jitsu,

“the universe is playing this crazy game and we are a part of that. And I think it is good

to remember when you’re doing jiu jitsu otherwise you start taking it (life) and Jiu Jitsu

too seriously and what’s the point of that?”

There is a limit to each vantage point. If one is narrow minded and only judge’s success on the check marks next to the list of goals, by the amount of medals, or “taps”

they get, it belittles the true success.

Jiu Jitsu is an art, and in following with that theme, we are the artists. There will be times our art will not fulfill our expectations but we must recall how when we first traversed the mats the goal was not to be indomitable.

The purpose of Jiu Jitsu is subjective to each individual artist; however, the success resides in the repetition of said failures. You will be tapped, you will lose your matches, you will be put in positions you could not have fathomed, motivation at times will be scarce, your determination will be tested, and your body will ache, but you will live. You will grow if you chose to persevere. There are no limits, there are only perceived limits. Keep training my friends.


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