The other day after I was taking a round off during open mat and talking to one of my favorite training partners about a visitor we were training with that day who was absolutely wrecking both of us. He said, “Do you ever feel like you’re getting worse at this the more you train?”
I guess I could have been offended at this question, because we’d just finished rolling. Does he think I was getting worse too?
But nah…I knew what he meant. And yeah, I can relate to the sentiment sometimes, but those days actually make me feel the complete opposite. Bad days happen in every sport. Pushing through them and taking what they have to offer are where some of the biggest gains are made, at least mentally.
Slap five, fist bump, and get submitted again.
The ability to push through the tough days with a positive attitude has led me to where I am now. After 2.5 years of training 3-4 times a week consistently, stretching more than I ever have, eating healthy, and keeping up with my cardio off the mat, I’ve made huge improvement.
And the past few months have given me the opportunity to train with some high level guys–multiple black belts and even a couple of active UFC fighters. They toy with me. I’m a round off for them. I’m not talking about world champions or anything. Just guys that are really good.
It’s sobering to realize there are a lot of guys out there that these guys wouldn’t stand a chance against.
There are levels to this shizz. And I’m seeing more clearly lately exactly where my level is.
I’m absolutely horrible at BJJ.
In the grand scheme of things and comparing myself to what is possible in the world of BJJ, I’m absolutely horrendous. Atrocious. Dreadful.
But my hope is that I’ll be able to keep up my solid training schedule and stay health for another 3-5 years. At that point, I think I will have improved so much that I’m no longer horrible at BJJ, just really (really) bad.
It’s very freeing to realize that:
- I’m going to continue to get better for the foreseeable future
- I’m never going to be good
- I can’t even blame this on starting at 43. The reality is that if I’d started in my 20s, the best I could have ever hoped for would have been to be decent