by James Eke
When we start training in the martial arts we might think that we are going to suddenly gain amazing skills and be this image that we have created for ourselves over night. The reality though is that becoming amazing at anything takes dedication and hard work.
We can always come up with reasons why we cannot train — I’m busy, I’m tired, I have this to do, I have that to do, I don’t think my instructor likes me, I don’t think that student likes me, I’m too old, I’m too out of shape, I’m too blah blah blah. Excuses are like a poison once they take hold. We may start with the thought that we really do need to not train for whatever reason for this one night and then before you know it you have gone from one of the students with the best turnout to one of the ones people are happy to see just out training for a change.
While it is good to have balance in our lives and there are obviously things that happen in life to keep us out of the dojo we also need to make every effort possible to see that our training remains consistent.
As I like to point out to students, that one class you miss might be the one class you really needed to attend.
When it comes to Jiu-jitsu this idea of simply showing up and never giving up is key. There are a lot of systems out there that call themselves ‘reality based’ but few come to the mats with the no-BS philosophy and application that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu does. Every time you hit the mats, even on nights that your heart just isn’t in it, you are still learning and getting better. And if you aren’t there, guess what? Yeah, Captain Obvious, the other guy is getting better and you are exercising your ‘sit on the couch muscles’.
Over time the excuse mill will be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The ‘I have to do this’ or ‘I have to do that’ will win. We will make this our new norm. Our growth potential will dwindle. Our peaks will now be valleys and as happens, we will dream up new excuses why we should just throw in the towel.
No BJJ black belt got there after a decade or more of work without first beating down the excuses.
If you want to be awesome. If you want to reach your full potential. If you want to be the martial artist you can become it means putting in the work.
Kung Fu translates roughly into ‘hard work over a long period of time’ — this is awesome. It is an action. It is an oath. It is an acceptance of doing what needs to be done.
The hardest part of training in the martial arts is going from the ‘I want to do this’ and walking through the doors of the Academy and starting. It takes courage and drive. The next part that is daunting is to simply put in the time.
Nothing worth having in this life came as a result of it just being given. The best things in life are discovered through hard work. They are the things that matter. Martial arts, if you let them will change every aspect of your life. You will not be the same person 10 or 20 years down the road that you are today because of the work that you do today.
In the same way, nobody is going to give you anything that you don’t deserve in the martial arts. Cultivate a bad attitude and act like your training don’t matter and you will get that back simply because it is what you put out there and allow. Work hard, show up, have a great attitude, go out of your way to be the kind of martial artist and person you want to be and what you will find is that is what will come back to you.
It takes on average about a decade at least to get a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, maybe longer. Hopefully you will still be alive and kicking a decade from now. Time will likely fly. You’ll look back and wonder how it could be ten years that have gone by. Now you can be sitting on your couch still, coming up with excuses or you could be tying on your BJJ black belt. One thing is for certain, whichever it is, you will have earned it.
Which do you want to be? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to be?