Patience and Perseverance

old black belt

We all want that thing we don’t have. In this case…in the dojo …I guess it’s the black belt. And many new members are impatient and just want to reach that destination fast. At first….the student is enthusiastic and always at training and puts all their effort into every session. They research online, read articles, books, magazines, watch youtube.clips, and try and find out every little bit of information they can. That is great and it’s part of the journey. However…..there are those times when the impatience is such that the student sees something cool online, or can’t see the forest for the trees and wants to question everything in class. Why are we doing this repetitive movement when we could be doing back spinning kicks etc?…..then they start to resent the basics, roll their eyes at the sensei or coach and can even start to turn to being mean to the lower ranks and beginners in an effort to make themselves feel better about their knowledge and rank.

Its not always this way….but I just want to remind my students to be patient. Remember…….martial arts is about being an eternal student. If you are looking to ‘master’ something then master the basics. Saying you want to master your style is almost putting a ceiling on your training. Just aim to better yourself in every session. Learn something new or do that one more push-up or fight smarter or push harder in your stances. Something. It’s little steps. Building a wall is one brick at a time.

I have been reminded of this recently by again donning a white belt and stepping onto the mats for BJJ. Being back at the bottom and struggling for air, blank mind under pressure, not able to use my skillset has been unsettling to say the least. But… much as i’m frustrated…it’s great to be on the road again and feeling the excitement of a new technique. Each time I leave class thinking I suck…..I remember that I know more today than yesterday….and I promise myself that the only way to improve is to walk the path. That path is turning up to the dojo….putting on my gi…..battling the demons and trying my best each session. If I wanted all the moves and all the answers now….or tomorrow….surely I would quit in frustration as that is just not going to happen.

Another personal example is weight training. A few of you at the dojo do weights in your own time to build on your strength and power output, and those that do the Bellatrix or No Limits classes will have also had exposure to weight training. I know with me that I just want to be able to lift more…and lift better. The problem is ….you have to work through the weights. You have to lift the 10 kg to develop the form, and then build strength and muscle mass, so that next time you can lift 12kg. When you built to 12kg…then it’s time to review form and build again to 15kg and so on. It’s just how humans work. There is no magic pill. Steroids you say ? Well No. You can’t just take them and grow. Sure…it enhances the rate at which your body can grow…but…..guess what…you still have to pick up those weights and you still have to do the work !

But….back to martial arts . It’s also worthy of mentioning that a black belt is, as our forefathers tell us, only the beginning. The mastery of basics as I mentioned earlier. You will note that the black belt…when worn enough starts to wear away at the edges. Over time the black starts to recede and you are left how you started. A dirty little white belt…eager just to learn something new. So…don’t be in a rush to get back to the beginning. Enjoy your journey. Each and every step. Osu

One thought on “Patience and Perseverance”

  1. Hi Sensei!

    I know the feeling. I started Judo myself a little while back and yes, totally humbling to wear a white belt around your waist. The key I find is that with an open mind, this new journey will basically help you be more equipped as a fighter/martial artist. It’s easy for us to get comfortable in what we know, growth happens in discomfort.

    What I found though is that this time around, I am not in a hurry to get promoted. Somehow already having a black belt in kyokushin satisfied this inner urge to want the belt but not this time.

    Anyway, best of lucks in your BJJ career and please keep report back on your progress and lessons learned.


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