BJJ Attitude: Nobody Cares About Your Training

It’s a little harsh, I know, but it caught your attention.

What I am trying to say here is two things really:
  1. No one in your immediate circle cares if you train less.
  2. That’s OK or even healthy
Now before you start sending me fury-mail about how you have, or at least envy those who have, a support system, hear me out a little.

Here is the scenario that lead me to this post. The gym I train at recently changed its session timetable. The previous one would finish on the hour while the new one finishes at half past. This is not a biggie but it effected my routine as I used to do the 7-8 session and then half the 8-9 session, leaving just in time to catch the 8.52 train home. The new timetable, however, perfectly allows me to start earlier and do the whole two hours before taking the same train home and getting home at the same time. Everybody is a winner, right? Oh so naïve!

As you may know, I finish work at 5pm, which puts me in town (where my gym is) at 5.45pm. This has in the past given me at least an hour to either study or, when not in term, have a long coffee with my wonderful wife, on the weeks she finishes at 5pm too. The new timetable kind of negates that.

She too got excited when I told her about the new timetable, but for reasons completely different to mine. While I was excited at the opportunity of getting an extra 4-5 more hours of higher level sparring per month, she saw the changes as an opportunity to have her husband home earlier two nights of the week. That’s so sweet. I think I’ll go buy her some flowers tonight!

And that’s when it hit me. She doesn’t want me to get better at BJJ / Grappling. She wants me to be happy, of course she does, but my Grappling prowess, or lack thereof, means nothing to her. If I decided to burn my gi and sell my groin guard on eBay she wouldn’t shed a single tear, as long as I did it because I wanted to and not had to for whatever reason. She wants me to be happy.

But let’s recount the other people in this equation. My parents? They don’t care either way. They sometimes think I’m still doing Karate. My sister, brother, best friends, not-so-close-friends, high school teachers, my boss, my colleagues, the staff at Starbucks…None of them would be any happier nor sadder if I trained more, less or any Grappling / BJJ at all.

How about the peeps at SBGi Manchester? My mat-buddies? The Double-weave Warriors? Well, I’d like to think that they’d miss me, at least for a couple of weeks, but I don’t think they’d be too bummed up about it. Sure I help with their development by dragging my fat behind to the mat week in and week out. Sure I entertain them with the odd off-the-mark joke, but they’ll get over it.

My coach? I’m one of his headaches. He’d fully support my decision to stay out of his gym! Kidding aside, he’d happy that I’m happy, I guess.

So whom does that leave? No one really, except of course me.

You see, I love training. I love rolling. I love the position game, the magic that is submissions. I love everything about BJJ / Grappling. Hell, I even like getting tapped, especially if it’s with something I’ve never seen before! And I have no plans of quitting grappling. But I do it for me.

The second thing I wrote at the top is that this is indeed OK or even healthy. The world has too many people living their lives thru others. No one should have a vested interest in me doing more or less training. I shouldn’t be doing this or any other activity to please or intentionally displease anyone else, and in my opinion neither should you.

The disappointment only arises when we set unrealistic expectations on the people we care about rather than buy them flowers.

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Julia Johansen said...

No comments? I found this when you posted the link on Seymour's blog.

It's true, what you said. But as a woman doing this, it's a tiny bit different. Sure, people around me may not really care, but that theoretical woman who shows up at my gym one day trying to figure out if she wants to do BJJ--she'll care. :) More women DOING bjj = more women JOINING bjj. At least that's my theory.

So while the people around me may not give a crap, the idealist in me knows it DOES matter that I go, more than just to me. And that's really what it is to be a minority in this sport. When we don't show up, no one thinks about us. When we do show up, it's more than just another dude showing up to practice--by being a woman going to class it makes a statement, like it or not.


The Part Time Grappler said...

Thank you Julia. Great having you here on this blog.

I fully agree. I've always been of the opinion that you vote with your money and if you want your vote to count, you need to make it heard. Excellent point!