Unicorns

(For the "squad". #unicornseveryone)

Yesterday, while I was in Starbucks waiting for my coffee, I had the pleasure of observing a group of tween girls doing what tween girls are now required to do in Starbucks, which is take selfies with their unicorn frappachinos. 



Now to be fair, I have not tasted this thing. (I like coffee. Sweet, caffeinated, brown coffee.) But as far as I can tell it was created by Starbucks for the sole purpose of getting people to post pics of it on Instagram. I am not sure if anyone who buys it actually drinks it, or if they just walk around Brooklyn until it melts, stopping in front of various landmarks to make duck faces into their Iphones. Those tweens LOVE their social media.

You know who else loves it? Martial artists. My news feed is full of posts from people who train. Sometimes it is because something exciting has happened, like a tournament win or a brand new belt. Other times it is just a pic of them in their gi with the caption "Off to class", which always makes me wonder if they are posting that because they are excited about training or if they are training just so they can post pics on Facebook.

Whatever, I get it. Martial arts is really cool and everyone is really proud of themselves for doing something special. And we should be. We chose to do something to make us healthier, happier people. We chose to do something outside the daily grind of work and chores and commuting. This is a life choice that everyone can feel good about.

But we aren't special. 

I mean sure, compared to the guy who works a nine to five job, then goes home, has a beer, watches the game and goes to bed, compared to him all of these katas are kind of special. But among those of us who train? Its just another Thursday.

In other words, you went to class today. I went to class today. A full third of my Facebook friends also went to class today. Many of us also trained after class, or before it. Some of us will train twice today. Some of us have notebooks full of concepts and ideas that we will study later, or You Tube videos we will watch. 

You have no idea how much time I spend doing jiu-jitsu because I don't post on social media every time I put on a gi. Gordon Ryan, who actually is kind of special, posts something every couple of days and he is ALWAYS training. In fact one could safely assume that anytime he is not posting a pic on Instagram he is on a mat somewhere working on heel hooks. 

I didn't post about my class yesterday. I didn't take a selfie on Tuesday of me in the changing room in my UWS rashguard giving the camera a fist bump. (Go ahead check my phone. You will find zero evidence of this selfie which most certainly did not happen.) 

But that doesn't mean I didn't want to. Of COURSE I wanted to! There is nothing in the world more narcissistic than social media. 

I know that we all like to think that we are these unique snowflakes who have chosen a higher path for ourselves. Notice I said "we", because I am just as guilty of self congratulation as the next guy. I LOVE what I do. I love putting on a rashguard and feeling like a super hero. I love that my work uniform is basically pajamas and a black belt. I love to drag myself off the mats dripping with sweat and leave a cryptic Facebook post that no one else will get.  "Kimuras. Ashis. Inside senkaku. Tired. Oss." Except that at least half of the people reading this post actually understood all of that. And the rest of you don't care because you're tired and the baby is crying.

Dude, I chose my Facebook friends. I am surrounded by martial artists and all of them went to class today!

Every so often one of us does something really, really awesome. We win NAGA. We get a black belt. We discover a new way to pass the guard. We finally tap that brown belt. 

The rest of the time is just jiu jitsu (and laundry).

So go ahead and post. (I mean I just wrote a BLOG all about ME!) But also remind yourself that there is huge difference between taking your training seriously, and taking yourself seriously. I spend multiple hours on the mat most days and even more time just thinking about jiu jitsu. But I also smile a lot. I laugh a lot. (I mean come on, have you seen some of these positions??) And whenever I start to climb up onto my high horse I remind myself that I have chosen to spend my days rolling around on sweaty mats in a very tight shirt while some other guy tries to hug me until I say stop. 

It keeps me humble. 

You know what else keeps me humble? Getting smashed by brown belts. These daily doses of humility not only help "keep it real", they are really good for my jiu jitsu. 

In my opinion, the perfect training environment is a combination of newer people that you can work your moves on and help nurture, and more advanced people who can teach you new things and give you a challenge. People who remind you that you still have a long way to go. 

And the perfect training attitude is two parts bad ass, one part self deprecation. We are all pretty awesome. 

We are also RIDICULOUS.

And with that, I am off to class. Hopefully, so are you.
#thursdays
#heelhooks
#hardtraining
#iamaunicorn



Comments