Monday, November 7, 2011


I was working last night at the bar and a training partner ended up coming in for a drink with a lady friend. They had dinner and a drink or two, and then she left and he waited at the bar for his bus.  So we got to catch up; he and I don't get to train together that often.  He trains across town at night, when I'm usually at Woodbury.  We started training at roughly the same time, I think, but I have one distinct advantage:  I'm 6'1"-ish, 180 lbs, and he's 5'3"-ish, 130 lbs.  [You heard it here first---size matters.]  He said something that resonated with me:  "I see everyone around me making leaps and moving forward, and I feel like I'm just plateauing."

Why did this resonate with me?  I look over the history of this blog, and I can see (and remember writing) posts about how I feel good about my jiu jitsu, and how I feel like I'm progressing.  Right now, it's a little different.  I know that I'm progressing and improving.   I feel myself giving certain people more trouble than I used to, I see myself beating guys who used to stomp me.  I take my training seriously (more seriously than I think my lovely wife would like), and I make time to roll with guys across town so that I get training in with different bodies and higher belts who are not my instructor.  I hear guys complimenting my progress, etc.  And it still feels like a plateau.  Explain that.

For one, improvement is becoming much more of a slog, a much steeper incline.  It's no longer about learning the basics; now I have to build combinations and increase push-pull sensitivity and up my aggression without sacrificing my defense.  For another, I don't have people with whom to practice building those essentials.  I have Klint to wreck me, I have the white belts to wreck, and I have guys across town to measure my game.  I don't have drilling partners.  And those are the ones I think I need right now.  Blue belt, as I understand it, is where you build your game, where you craft what kind of jiu jitsu player you're going to be and determine what goes into your A game.  I'm going to be here a long, long time.  And I'm cool with that.  What would bother me would be being a blue belt for a long long time and feeling the entire time like I'm not training properly.

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