This is a general post aimed at anyone who is looking to start the fantastic journey which I am on of BJJ it is not aimed at any people as it talks about something that happens up and down the country and in almost every sport not just BJJ.
So I am new to BJJ and going down to class for the first time, I guess I need to prove myself show everyone I am a tough guy yeah?
No. Categorically that is not what you need to do in any way but it is a mistake which is made my quite a lot of new comers to classes all up and down the country.
I was a new comer not so long ago and I know how it feels, the new boy at school feeling but even worse as you are walking into an environment of people who know a martial art and who will inevitable roll with you and submit you.
There are really then 2 choices I guess, the first which is the path I tried to take and the like of Naz and Chaz after me took which is to work hard, show willing, take your licks, tap out often and come back for more. Try to learn as much as you can from everyone you roll with, show willing to help out all you can with other new folks. Just in generally show you are part of the team and also part of the family. It is an environment as I have stated before unlike almost any other, it is like a brother/sister hood and those in the family stay with you and will be there to help. This can feel daunting at first but if your gym is anything like mine it takes very little time to fit in and be accepted as soon as you show you are there and committed and keep turning up and working hard you are set. This is the way that almost everyone chooses and it is the one that works, people will take to you, help and support you.
However there are some that take a second route, which while it is understandable it is not the right way and will not help long term. This is the method which involves walking into the gym seeing what is going on and trying to go as hard and rough as you can. The mentality based around “I haven’t got the skill but I am strong” or as my Mum says “Strong in the arm soft in the head”. This is not the way to go, hurting folk or just going rough will not help you fit in it will not help you become a team member. More importantly maybe, you may beat a higher belt with power and roughness but what do you learn from that, what technique do you pick up, how does this better you? The answer is that it doesn’t and this is an important lesson as BJJ like most sports, jobs and life styles always has those at the start and those further on and one helps bring the other along. That is certainly something John is a great advocate of he always makes sure that we know a higher belt should always be respected but that they have the duty to help lower belts along.
Now at most places you will always get a second chance and be asked politely to try technique not power and violence, most high belts and slightly higher ones like myself will generally allow this new over eagerness and not react. But do not mistake the kindness and good hearted nature of people for weakness, if you continue down the wrong path it will not help you develop or really enjoy and love your BJJ.
Just remember, you do not need to prove yourself to others and to the gym, just show commitment, hard work and the willingness to be part of a great thing, and prove yourself to yourself as after all this is the most important thing.
13/09/10 Starting weight 22st 11lbs / 319lbs / 145kgs
20/09/10 Now 22st 8lbs 316lbs / 143.5kgs
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.