Coming back to class after such a hard time is tough. It really is.


For maybe the first time ever, I was really dreading class yesterday. Like not wanting to go dread. As I was going through my usual pre-class routine, shower, braiding my hair, brushing my teeth, my anxiety was slowing building up. It killed me that I was feeling this way about class. Jiu-jitsu has been such an important part of my life for the last few years and even in rough times I looked forward to getting back out there and trying again. It’s always been hard, but it’s never been something that I dread to the point of not wanting to go. Maybe feared a little, definitely had anxiety, but never just plain ol’ not wanting to do it. As someone who really does love jiu-jitsu, it’s a hard feeling to process and understand what it means.

Those last four words are a lie. I know what it means.

It means is that I’m in my head. That’s it. Jiu-jitsu didn’t change, my thoughts and the pressure I’m putting on myself changed. I have plenty of excuses to throw around. My weight gain. My time off. My blue belt pressures. My shit cardio. My age (Hello, 38!) But, excuses are annoying. I actually felt irritated at myself as I sat there thinking about these things. There may have even been an eye roll.

No more excuses.


I played a broken record in my head of only positive phrases in hopes to force out the stupid excuses and make believe pressures I’m putting on myself. By the time we walked into class I was in a much better place mentally than when I was at home. I might have felt like I was going to vomit because the anxiety was there, it’s always there, but I had at least replaced the excuses and self-shit-talk with positive affirmations. That sounds so cheesy. Cheesy, but hey, it works.

By the time class was over I felt much better. Still a little eh, but better.


One of the biggest things I need to get into the right mindset for jiu-jitsu is focus by having tasks. When I find something that I want to work on, a technique that I can focus on, I leave all the headcase bullshit behind and worry instead about that technique. For example, for months I was obsessed with crucifix. At first it started with just getting to crucifix from side control. Then it was trying to maintain and control. From there it evolved into finding different entries to it. After that it evolved into finding submissions, using bait to get what I want, or faking a submission from there to set up a second submission. I started each roll with a “task,” getting to crucifix, and it made me focus on learning, not on feeling stupid for making a mistake or rolling poorly. During that time, I almost looked forward to making mistakes so that I could learn from it.

So, now, thanks to help from an awesome person, I have a new task to work on and a new focus. And, it helped me tremendously last night. I felt ten times better, I was able to focus on the rolls and learning instead of being in my head and overthinking about things. Like I said, I still feel a little eh, but I feel like I’m on the right path.

I look forward to this being one of those times where when I come out of it, I’m going to be so proud of myself for fighting through and not giving up.


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