Just Do It. (Training, not sneakers.)

Once every few months or so, a couple of east coast jiu-jitsu ladies organize a women's open mat at my school. It is open to anyone, regardless of rank, experience, or gym affiliation. All you need to bring is your gi, your belt, and a positive attitude. 

There were over 30 women in attendance this past Sunday. Thirty ladies, from white belt to black belt, who do jiu-jitsu. The mats were full. The women's changing room was a cornucopia of multi-colored gym bags. It was awesome. 

I overheard plenty of conversations while I was there; newbies asking purple belts for tips, girls who had never met each other before talking about how they got into BJJ. There were the usual jokes about our gis falling off, our hair not staying up, about how much we hate knee on belly. But the overall feeling in the room was one of solidarity. Regardless of our many different teachers and gyms, we were all the same, we were all ladies who do jiu-jitsu. In other words, arm bars are arm bars no matter where you practice them. 

Incredible I know. Martial artists. From different schools. Training together on the same mat. And no, the world did not explode.

This open mat came at a good time for me, after a week of disappointing training. For whatever reason, things were not going well for me last week. My brain was slow, my body sore. I went to class on Friday and got my ass kicked. Lets just say, I was not really feeling the jiu-jitsu love.

The thing about Sunday's triaining is not that I did great. The thing was, I had fun. I was exhausted but I had fun. I couldn't really move my arms afterwards but I had fun. I got triangled by a white belt but I had fun! I rolled with all those ladies and I was reminded that despite the ups and downs, I actually like jiu-jitsu. 

I recently had a conversation with another high ranking karateka about the importance of rejuvenation. Both of us have been doing karate for over twenty years. When you get to that point in your training, you have to find other ways to keep motivated. It is not enough to just go to class twice a week, do some kicks and punches and go home. For some people, like myself, the solution is to find a slightly different art to add to your arsenal. For others, like another senior I know, it is to delve deep into the history of your own style, to learn more about the katas, to drill each punch until it is an absolutely perfect specimen of form and efficiency.

Not to beat a dead horse but I have to say it just one more time. Smart teachers understand this need. Smart teachers trust that their senior students will make good choices, will not get themselves hurt, and most importantly will not jump ship the second they catch a glimpse of someone else's dojo. Smart teachers also understand what I learned by showing up at the open mat this weekend, despite my somewhat dejected attitude; that training, in all its forms, only leads to more training.

So I went to class on Monday. With a whole slew of sore muscles, I went to class on Monday because I trained on Sunday. And then I went on Tuesday, because I went on Monday. And again on Wednesday. By Thursday I was getting a bit sick of jiu-jitsu but there I was in class again. Just in case you missed it, that is 5 days in a row! I am a machine!

I'm gonna take today off. 
I think.

This weekend I will be fortunate enough to participate in a karate workshop which brings together advanced students from two of our local dojos. I have no idea what we are going to do together, but I am pretty sure I will want to go to class every day next week too.

You are either going forward or you are standing still. 
Go forward.
Go train.


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