I felt like throwing up. I almost decided not to go in. My first day of Jiu Jitsu was like the first day of boot camp in the Army or at your local fitness gym. Expectations, wondering, faint glimpses of sweat or maybe even blood. Sitting in the Jeep before going in I had no idea what to expect. As a local gym owner I deal with first day people all the time. I see the nervousness in their eyes, shaking knees, and coarse throats. Being the newbie is intimidating. There’s a whole new world inside the doors of the school, the gym, the church. You try to imagine what the minute by minute details will be like, but no matter how hard you try, you never get the idea until you step into it.
Jiu Jitsu was something I knew nothing about. I watched a few videos of black belt champions showing how easy it was. Truth is nothing is easy. Not even the warm up. Until we did it in class I never once did a forward roll or backward roll. Hadn’t even heard of what “shrimp” was. Walking into the new world as a student was liberating. Nobody looking to me for answers. Nobody had questions about my expertise. Being a personal trainer who helps people daily get in shape I’m consistently sought after for advice. Chris, the coach, and owner of Sakura BJJ was that guy and I was just like every other new student. Amazing.
What made we want to try it were the stories I heard about the stress relief it offered. The relaxing feelings in your mind and body after a hard class of drilling and rolling. My mind was only occupied by the gym, by family, and books. Nothing else stirred within. As a stay at home Dad in between my classes at the gym, I needed the break offered by “me time”. At first I felt guilty taking it because my poor darling wife never asks for her own. But it’s necessary for me to operate at my best.
Many people fall into a trap of routine that sucks them of vital life energy. They help others more than they care for their own soul. Friendships lost and hobbies tossed into the dark muggy basement beneath the old canvas tarp. Hardly ever to be seen again. For me Jiu Jitsu was a chance to find something outside of life that was new. Disappoint me, it did not. I found myself more alive, more awake.. Jiu Jitsu helped me save myself from destructive thoughts and lazy attitudes. It showed me the strength within my arms and the power of self defense. I never thought I’d be on the mats for long but this journey has been good to me and I’m excited about the future days of drilling endlessly and aggressively rolling with good people. Good men and women who too are on a journey to fulfillment. It’s been kind, but not easy. Nothing I’ve ever tried besides caring for my children has been harder. My perseverance helps me continue to show up. My curiosity helps me continue to improve. My coaches help me continue to know that there is much to learn.