Recently I rolled with one of my favorite training partners (FTP). I love rolling with him because whenever we finish, he compliments me and then points out part of my game that I could work on. Usually he gives a small piece of constructive criticism that might change my game completely. He is a natural teacher, and he rolls with people with an eye to improve their game. How nice of him!
We had a great session and it was only the ticking of the clock and the
fear of Husband's "Where the hell were you, you were supposed to be
home a half hour ago," that pulled me off the mat. When we finished, FTP
made one of those observations that, well, seem more like therapy than jiu jitsu.
I don't know if anyone else experiences this. But sometimes where I need
to go to improve my jiu jitsu game isn't about jiu jitsu at all, but
more about my own mental state. Its more about those bad habits that I
have to change. More about the comfortable places I retreat to no matter
how much I know they aren't working for me. It's about letting go of
things that feel so right but are actually not in my
favor. It's like therapy.
Sometimes critique isn't like that at all. Sometimes critique is more,
"Holy cow! I never saw that before! That's a total game changer. How do I
incorporate that into my repertoire?"
But the real, deep observations make me feel like I am talking to a
mental health professional. "Yes, I know I shouldn't do that, " I say.
"But I can't help myself. I don't know how to stop."
This when jiu jitsu for me becomes very personal, a spiritual journey if
you will. One that is best taken with kind, generous, and gentle
training partners who are willing to talk, not just about moves and
youtube videos, but also about intent and motivation, growth and
challenge, success and failure, and all those other things that make jiu
jitsu more than just exercise or a sport. Or, we could just smash our way
through our day-to-day drills and open mats. But then we miss the
real power of jiu jitsu, the one that bring us face to face with who we
really are and asks us to decide whether we want to be the same, or
whether we want to change, with the help and support of all our FTPs.
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