Having a Cold Makes Me Lose My Edge

"Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records." William Arthur Ward

A little over a month ago I wrote a post condemning the choice to train only once a week. Understandably, I took some flack for it, mostly from people who wanted to train more but were too busy with work, life, kids, distance, etc. Of course, these were not the people I was complaining about, rather my whole post could really be summed up in two words: laziness sucks. If you are choosing to sit on your couch rather than train, I am talking to you. If you are choosing to go out to a movie with your sweetie at 7:00 when you could just as easily go at 9:00 (AFTER class), I am talking to you. If you have three kids with three different schedules and a full time job and you live in Westchester and it takes every ounce of willpower you have to drag your ass here for the occasional class, that post was not for you. You just keep on trucking, you'll get here eventually.

Momentum is so so important when it comes to training. It is everything. And losing momentum suuuuucks! So you should try your best to never lose it. But for those of you who read my last post and said, "Hey! I'm trying my best here! Why won't she cut me some slack?" this is for you. Turns out, I am not perfect either.

About a month ago I pulled a muscle near my ribcage which put me out of both sparring and rolling for almost three weeks. Still I showed up, doing drills oh so carefully, doing katas in slow motion. Finally, last Wednesday I made my grand return to contact sports, making it through four careful rounds without mishap. In fact, it was a good opportunity to go slow, to work on technique, to be hyper aware of where and when I moved my body. All good things.

Then I got sick. No jiu-jitsu Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. A weekend spent with congestion in my ear and nose and a sinus headache which made me feel as if I was moving underwater. Yesterday I went to drills class, 45 minutes of stand-up guard passing which left me sweating profusely and needing a long nap. Today? Still sick. I don't do sick well. I like to have energy. I hate laying around. I hate headaches. And snotty noses. And heartburn from too much cold medicine. And when I feel run down I get prone to random anxiety, when I get anxious I don't sleep well, when I don't sleep well I feel run down. Its a vicious cycle.

But I am a mom and we moms have to keep showing up. So I made Maya dinner, helped her with her homework, and got her ready for bed, all with a tension headache the size of Texas. I got up this morning after 5 hours of semi-restful sleep and taught my adorable 2-3 year olds how to do somersaults. I even sang. Yes, stuffy nose and all. I am sure it was lovely.

But poor jiu-jitsu. It is always two steps forward, five steps back. Every time I have a  great roll, something happens to reset the clock right back to crappy new blue belt.

But this is not a Jennifer pity party. (I had one last night and you all were not invited!) Rather it is a pep talk, three handy affirmations, for you, for me and for anyone else who is feeling frustrated with the annoying setbacks that life throws your way. (I know, I said in the past that I was not an affirmation kind of gal. I lied. Sue me.)

1. You have been here before. Panic attacks. Injuries. Illness. Family emergency. Job trouble. Whatever it is, it is probably not new territory, rather it is kind of like an old blanket. But not the soft cozy kind, the kind that is scratchy and uncomfortable and causes an itchy rash that requires huge doses of Benedryl. Nonetheless, it is familiar. And you got through it last time. Sure it was hard and scary and you had to put mittens on your hands to keep from scratching (Did I take that analogy too far? Blame the clogged sinuses.) but you made it. And you'll do it again. Why? Because you are a fighter, that's why. Whether you put gloves on or not.

2. This too shall pass. My favorite affirmation. Because it will. So if you are feeling frustrated that your knee feels like someone keeps hitting it with a hammer, don't worry. Knees get better. Time heals all wounds. It really does, both in the body and in the mind.

3. Tomorrow is another day. To train. To be a great mom. To fix your relationship. To take up meditation. To clean the kitchen.  I know I said that whole speech back there about never making excuses for yourself. And you shouldn't. I know we are supposed to live each day like it is our last. YOLO and all that. And you should, when you can. But truthfully, it probably isn't your last. So if you didn't work on armbars today because you could not drag yourself out of bed, it is ok. You are not entering the Octagon this weekend. Hopefully, you have the rest of your life to get better at jiu-jitsu. (And by you, I of course mean me, the person who hates nothing more than to be thrown off track in any way. But you too. All of you. You have plenty of time to get better at this.) And by the way, if you did make it to class but you sucked anyway, that's ok too. Plenty of time. Just keep showing up and doing your best, whatever that may be today. And then tomorrow, do it again. And again.

My favorite blogger, Glennon, of Momastery.com said this on Facebook this morning. "We show up. Even when we are tired and shaken and broken and our faith is shaken. We show up and we say what we need to say." 

So I showed up today. I taught all my classes. I did my best. Actually, they were pretty good classes. 

But I skipped my own workout tonight. Instead I am sitting at the edge of the dojo floor, watching some students do kata and talking to you. It is important to persevere. But part of training is also knowing when it is time to take a rest. 


  1. Okay, I totally needed to read this today. Quite possibly every day. Yup, putting it in my google calendar now: Repeat Appointment, 9am, Daily, Read MAMA's blog for refreshing reminders and inspiration. :-)


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