I’ve heard it said that most of life is just showing up. This is very frequently one of the greatest challenges of training jiu-jitsu.

In other words, the ability to accomplish anything is mostly a matter of showing up and putting in the work. Most people don’t show up so just by being there, you’re already ahead.

This is especially true for a sport/art like JiuJitsu where the attrition rate is so catastrophic it’s a wonder why anyone even begins in the first place. Recently, during my post-game wrap-up, I asked my senior ranked students where the folks were that started with them at white belts. It’s as if they had never even thought about it but they looked around like “umm, I have no idea”. The point of my question was to illustrate how difficult it is to stay on the path for the long haul in JiuJitsu.

I told my students that we are all going to undergo major changes in our journey and it is exactly that: A Journey. We are going to take steps forward and we are going to take steps backward. A lot of times, we’ll find ourselves moving laterally, diagonally and rotationally. My personal goal, everyday, is to just make sure that one foot finds its way in front of the next and if it doesn’t, I must correct course.

The Hardest Part of Training Jiujitsu

To me, jiu-jitsu’s biggest challenge is, is showing up. I am in a special position where I must show up to teach so in my case, it is a bit more metaphorical. I must be physically present as my job, but furthermore, I must be mentally and spiritually present in order to put in the work.

Sometime between the end of my last session and the beginning of my next, a multitude of factors and events transpire that leave me feeling like I can skip the next training session. Whether it’s a little bit of pain here, a social outing, a new series on Netflix, or even a couple of rowdy kids classes that have drained me of all my mental and physical energy. There’s always going to be a reason to take a day off.

Other feelings that arise are usually more fatally detrimental to one’s path. These are the feelings that are self-deprecating and discouraging. They include feelings of humiliation (ie: I got my ass kicked so bad I never want to experience that again), mortal laziness (I don’t want to push hard anymore, I need something way easier), et cetera. The problem is that we all want to get better at JiuJitsu but few of us are willing to put in the work necessary to achieve it. The work includes going above and beyond these feelings in order to move past them and simply, just show up.

One thing I’ve found regarding my success is that no matter how discouraged or humiliated I am from training… the most important thing I can do despite my feelings is simply make sure that foot finds its way in front of the other.

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