August 6, 2012 was the first day I walked into Mid-America Martial Arts. I took a tour of the facility, bought a gi, learned how to tie my belt, and the became completely exhausted from the warmup.
I had no idea back then that I’d still be doing this in 5 years. Nor did I realize that I wouldn’t stop with jiu jitsu. True, that’s the bulk of what I’ve trained in. According to Gym Time, an app I wrote to keep track of how much time I train, I have spent 928.5 hours in the past 5 years training BJJ. If I can hit 71.5 hours in the next 4 months, I’ll be at 1000 by the end of the year. It’s going to be close. But in addition to BJJ, I have 113 hours of Judo and even this year started doing some Muay Thai and have accumulated 14 hours there.
I have done 11 tournaments in BJJ and one in Judo.
There were several things I didn’t know when I started. Basic things like how to tie a belt, or what belts were in BJJ. But I also didn’t realize the relationship between BJJ and Judo (as Mike Penny says, “The only difference is the rules you compete under.”) I also didn’t know there were tournaments, much less that I would do 11 of them. (I’m 12-31-3 at tournaments by the way.)
But BJJ and MAMAs has changed my life. I have met people there that I know have my back in life and I have their. I have gained confidence. It’s not that I necessarily doubted myself before (as my wife will tell you) but I was only confident in certain things, like my ability to write software or something like that. But now, through various trials in BJJ and Judo, I know that I can push myself.
I also know what it’s like to really want to quit. Not training, but to quit a tournament or a match for various reasons, whether it’s because I’m exhausted or because of anxiety or something else. I have to admit that I’ve given in to that desire a couple times. But there are more instances where I’ve been able to push that thought out of my head and press on.
I’ve had weeks where training 8 hours wasn’t enough, and I’ve had weeks where I didn’t make it into the gym and was okay with that.
I can’t even begin to count the number of sparring classes where I ask myself “Why do I do this?”
I’ve had bruised shins — not from Muay Thai, but from BJJ or Judo. I’ve only broken one bone (a lesser toe) and had the occasional sprain or strained joint.
I don’t know if there’ll be a 10 year anniversary blog or not. I don’t know if I’ll make it that far. I don’t know if this blog will still be a thing then. I don’t have any plans on quitting, but things happen.
Tomorrow is Monday. God willing, I will load up my bag with all the stuff I need to do a gi lesson over lunch and another one at night followed by an hour of sparring. I’ll get home about 13 hours after I leave in the morning, exhausted, needing a shower and longing for sleep. And I’ll be glad I did.