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Chances are, if you are reading this, you are enthusiastic about BJJ.
Perhaps you are a new white belt who just found BJJ and is eager to dive in to your new obsession? Maybe you are nearing a promotion, and the lure of a new belt has renewed that enthusiasm you had during those first few months? Or maybe you’re preparing for a competition, and you’re psyching yourself up for it?
These are all heady moments in your BJJ journey. They’re the points where your enthusiasm is at its peak and the word “obsession” is a pretty fair description of your feelings about Jiu Jitsu.
Each of these is also a moment of transition, when your interest in BJJ is intensified by the fact that you are about to witness a major change in scenery along that journey.
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These are the easy moments in the journey, when you can’t get to the gym fast enough or often enough.
But they can also be dangerous moments.
If you are expecting your entire Jiu Jitsu journey to feel like it does in these moments, you are in for a great deal of disappointment. Therein lies the danger. Those high points can make the low points feel even lower.
And there will be low points. They’re natural. And they have nothing to do with your skill or your development in Jiu Jitsu.
More often, they have to deal with one of two things: 1) you may have other things going on in your life—good things—that pull your attention in other directions. Perhaps you are expecting a new baby, and those baby preparations are, rightfully, capturing all of your thoughts. 2) At other times, you may have just settled into a routine that has lasted long enough to begin feeling a little like a rut.
These are the moments when you will need discipline. Tom DeBlass discusses the difference between discipline and motivation in his The Road to Black Belt and Beyond series, and these are the times that a lack of discipline can completely de-rail your journey. They allow a week-long break from the dojo to quickly grow into a two-month absence during which your skills have diminished as your waistline has expanded.
Discipline will keep you on track when your motivation is at a low point. However, if you’ve hit a low point because you feel like you are in a rut, there are definitely things you can do to re-kindle your sense of motivation.
Remember that all of the high-enthusiasm moments we discussed earlier are points where we are anticipating a transition or change. If we are at a point in the journey where we don’t see a transition on the horizon, we can re-awaken our enthusiasm by finding or inventing a transition to aim towards.
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One obvious transition is to go from Jiu Jitsu player to Jiu Jitsu competitor. In most parts of the country, tournaments—from big to small—are happening throughout the year. Choosing a tournament a few months away and planning out a training regimen is an ideal way to get out of a rut.
The big dividends of competition have nothing to do with medals. Honestly, if you have a bunch of medals, it just means you have more knick-knacks to dust on cleaning day. The true dividends have to do with the training, the motivation, and the improvements in your game that come out of them.
If competition isn’t your thing, you can still find ways to invent new goals. Choose an escape or submission or technique that you haven’t mastered and set about adding it to your game. Set a realistic timeline for reaching this goal and focus your training toward achieving it. The transition, here, is a transition to a new, better game.
Unfortunately, there will be times when your motivation will wane a bit. Sometimes, this is because there are other good things going on in your life. If, however, you feel like a change would do you good, remember that changes don’t need to be external. You don’t have to wait for a stripe or a belt promotion from your coach. You can create your own sense of transitions and goals to reinvigorate your motivation and keep yourself eager to get to the gym.
Professor Tom DeBlass is here to share his wisdom and to set you forth with the information to improve you BJJ, and your life. His DVD "The Road To Black Belt and Beyond" can help with injuries, competing, relationships, and MUCH MORE. Check it out here!