That GOOD Pain

Have you ever been exhausted?  I don’t mean “Have you ever been tired at the end of a day at the office?”  I mean have you ever just felt every muscle in your body yelling at you to sit down? Have your muscles ever been so tired that your eyes want nothing more than to close for 8 or more hours? Have you ever been so tired that it’s a chore to walk across the room, not because of anything particularly sore or injured, but just because you’re that exhausted?

Have you ever been sore? Have you been sore and you don’t know why? Again, not in a “I must have slept wrong” kind of way. But more of a “How on Earth could my SHINS hurt?” Where, when you stand up to walk to someone’s desk at work you notice that your ribs are sore. As you walk down the hall you detect some fatigue in your knee.

BJJ has done all of that for me (or is it to me?)

But it’s been a while.  For the past six months or so, I’d put a project at work ahead of training. That’s probably the “mature” or “adult” thing to do.  I went from training around 6-7 hours every week to something like 4 hours a week.  The reduction in mat time, the addition of stress from work, and the availability of candy led to me gaining some weight as well.

This week, though, I went back to my old routine.  I trained two hours on Monday, two on Tuesday (including lunch time sparring with the “Noon High Ninjas”), three hours on Thursday (again including lunch time sparring, this time it was no-gi), and then two more hours on Saturday. So nine hours total.  By the end of the BJJ class on Saturday my body was telling me that it was good that I was taking off until Monday.

All through the week I was sore and tired. I have some kind of gi burn behind my right ear. I have/had mysterious bruises on my arms and chest this week. My ribs were tender. Not bruised or anything serious. But I definitely felt it even when the lightest guy started in kesa gatame.

And you know what? I have really missed that feeling.

I have missed random soreness.

I have missed being down right exhausted.

I discovered that I love it. I don’t love being in pain. But I love what that pain represents. That pain represents growth on the mat. It represents getting better. It represents progress. I don’t ever want to wake up in this kind of pain having done nothing the day before. As it is right now, that pain reminds me that yesterday I did something. Yesterday, I went out and tried to submit someone and keep someone from submitting to me. Yesterday, I fought. I didn’t fight people. I fought myself. And the pain and exhaustion are the reminders of that, and encouragement to do it again next week.

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