I’ve wrapped up year number four training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I started the year as a 1 stripe blue and ended as a 2 stripe blue. I appreciate the added stripe, it always feels good. At the same time, this stripe, to me, was the least “meaningful” one. My first stripe on my white belt felt amazing. Stripe #2 was for submitting someone at a tournament, so that was pretty cool. Stripe #3 at white meant I was getting close to blue (I never did get a 4th stripe.) The first stripe on my blue was for technique, so that was pretty cool. This stripe, though, felt a little empty. I’m not saying that my coaches got it wrong, or it was a kind gesture. But instead, what I mean is I’m constantly seeing how much room for growth I have. So am I a 2 stripe blue belt? If my coaches say I am, I must be. But does being a 2 stripe blue belt hold any significance to me? Not at all.
The reason I’m becoming aware of how much I don’t know/how much room for growth I have is because in 2016 I started taking privates once a week. It’s been a huge help. I initially went in wanting to get better at arm-bars and I think that I learned a lot about arm-bars. But along the way I’ve learned about space, leverage and contact. I’ve learned how to be heavy in side control (I’ve had one or two people tell me that in the past 2 months…first time in 4 years someone has described me as heavy.) Seeing the little details that I never picked up in 3 years of training highlights how much more growth I have.
The privates have helped in regular classes as well, as they’ve helped open my eyes to see some of the little details that I might not have known to pay attention to. It’s also forced me to pay more attention in my rolls, because if I’m going to ask a question about why something didn’t work, I have to know about what it was I was doing.
On the judo side, I went from an orange belt (gokyu) to green belt (yonkyu). I still have a hard time pulling the trigger, but I think I’m getting better at it, and I definitely have less nerves about standing up (still some nerves, just less.)
I ended up training 183 hours this year. That’s down about 10 hours from last year, which isn’t too bad considering that I had another first this year: first bout of ringworm. Actually, first and second, as it went away for about 1 week only to show back up. I think early summer I missed something like 3 weeks of training.
That 183 hours includes 47.5 hours of judo and 128.5 hours of BJJ (the remaining 7 hours were “conditioning” that I must have done that one week )
No tournaments in 2016.