See the Masked Opportunity behind each Difficulty

woman's Bjj Kimberly Bowser

Jiu Jitsu has made me tough. It’s made me deal with failure on a daily basis. It’s shown me that I am stronger and more capable then I ever imagined. This journey has taken me places I never imagined. Two weeks ago it took me to my lowest low. It started with one bad training session. I didn’t think much of it because I had had bad training days before. But then one turned into two, into three. I couldn’t pull myself together. I kept showing up, but quickly just wasn’t feeling it. My body hurt everywhere but that what normal. What wasn’t normal was how weak I was feeling, how unfocused I was and how I didn’t have to desire to be present in the fight. Finally the weekend came, I was forced to take a day off due to Mom obligations. I felt guilty to take the day off, but at the same time I thought maybe it was what I needed. A day of rest. But when Monday Morning came around, I quickly was feeling the same way again. After 3 more awful training sessions, I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Not only was I not performing well on the mats, but I began to not care either. I always tell me students before anything else, Jiu Jitsu should be fun. I wasn’t having fun. I didn’t know why. I didn’t want to tell anyone, not even my own coach. Other than telling him I wasn’t feeling good, he had no idea what I really was dealing with. I had a moment where I felt maybe this was the end of my Jiu Jitsu Journey. Three-quarters of the way into my purple belt, maybe this was it. I mean it had happened with other things before in my life that I was so into, and eventually lost interest. I finally reached out to one of my role models in jiu jitsu. The conversation went like this, 

ME: “Having a rough Training week”

HER “Tell me about it”

ME “Feeling very tired for a week now. Not strong, being smashed a lot. My whole body hurts everyday, and mentally not able to pull myself together. I keep waiting for the feeling to pass, but it’s been a week now”

HER: “Seriously take 2 days off in a row. I know that’s advice neither of us would ever want to do but it helps. Then you come back stronger and the training actually is beneficial as opposed to going through the motions of those two days that you were training”

ME: “yeah, maybe I need to. I took Sunday off thinking 1 day would do the trick. Yesterday I was miserable 5 minutes into training”

We have this kind of relationship where conversations stop mid way. I don’t think either of us ever think anything of it. I never committed to taking the days off with her, but I silently and reluctantly did it. The first day I actually left the Academy after I taught my kids classes. I felt awful, I was disappointed in myself. I went home and spent some quality time with my kids. The next day was comp training. My professor texted me to see if I wanted to drill before comp class. I hate to say No, but really wasn’t feeling well. A part of me wondered if I was allowing myself to feel this way. I was sad to miss one of my favorite classes of the week. But I rested the entire morning. Then I spent the day fueling my body with healthy food. That night when I went to teach, all my favorite training partners showed up. A part of me thought, It’s been a day and half, I should just train, but I figured I should fulfill my 2 days of rest. At the end of the second day I sent my buddy a text

ME: “Day 2 resting, I think this is good. Starting to feel a little better”

HER: “I took the last two days off too…in solidarity, I wasn’t gonna tell you until tomorrow”

So blessed to have a friend like that. The most amazing way to show support. At the end of the second day I felt a bit in control. Day 3 I woke up not excited to train, actually feeling lazy. A part of me felt that this was the easy moment to just stop training. One day, turns into two, three, four, a week, a month, etc. One of the things that I am growing now in my Jiu Jitsu along with my technique is my character traits of a martial artist. On the top of the list is DISCIPLINE. I reminded myself that I will not always be motivated so I must learn to be disciplined. The agreement was 2 rest days and now I needed to be back on the mats. I did 1 hour of technique and a little situational training. I felt I needed to do more, but no one was available to train and even though I felt I should do more, I didn’t really want to. The next day was very similar. No hard training. An hour of technique followed by some very light playful sparring. One of the things I realized that you have to have in your training is partners you enjoy training with. Sophia, a 13 year old, Grey/Black belt at our academy is one of my favorites to train with. On a technical level she does everything right, she is light and quick. It’s fun to just move with her. When I was a white belt I was always so hungry for submissions, but now I love to practice new sweeps, or passes, or fun transitions. Again I left feeling as if I hadn’t trained hard enough, but at least I had fun. Today I spent 2.5 hours training. 105 minutes doing technique and 45 minutes doing positional training and rounds. Today I left that mat satisfied. It was just enough. It made me hungry again. The techniques we covered in class today were very fundamental. Techniques in reality I have seen many, many times. But while covering them today, I thought of my young students that often say out loud “I know this” I thought how much it bugs me to hear them say it because I know they have seen it, but they don’t understand it. They don’t use it. Before we did situational training today, my professor encouraged us all to find the position. To practice the sequence. I only practiced 1 part of the sequence today. I ended up in a triangle while trying to implement one of these techniques. Proof that even though I have seen this technique more than a dozen times, that I don’t know how to successfully execute it. My sparring session included so many of these fundamental techniques that were discussed today. The complexity of my open guard game sometimes overshadows the basic fundamental that are present and screaming in my face everyday. I think like many things in life, we overcomplicate and ruin the joy that can be. Today I am reminded that no matter how far I go in my journey that they basics are so important to constantly revisit. And even when I have my own child like moments of thinking “I know” there is always something more to learn or better understand. Today I learned 4 new details from fundamental positions and techniques. Today I realized that I have the discipline to rest and then the discipline to return reinvigorated with love for this beautiful sport. Difficulty brings opportunity. Be sure to surround yourself with people that will help guide you in those difficult moments. Embrace the easy training along with the hard ones. Always be a student first. Trust your instructor and allow yourself to be coachable. Celebrate the victories as well as the defeat and remember Jiu Jitsu is a journey, never a destination.

All the Best,

Coach Kim