This conversation has happened a handful of times in the last three months:
Them: You have really good movement.
Me: Thanks, I appreciate that.
Them: How long have you been doing jiu jitsu?
Me: It will be two years this coming February. So around 20/22 months.
Them: .....That can't be right. You're much better than that. Did you wrestle?
Me: For a year in eighth grade. So kind of, but really no.
Them: That's not fair.
I wish I could take credit for it all on my own. I can't, and I refuse to. For starters, I still think I'm not all that good. I have a few tricks, and one or two standard attacks and set-ups that I always look for. But I'm not a monster on the mat by any stretch. Also, my progress is almost entirely due to Klint's instruction. He's a technical madman. Every lesson takes the minutiae of each technique, explains why it's important to the particular combination we're working that day, and at the end, goes from the six-inch view to the thirty-thousand-foot view. From explaining why the elbow control helps more than wrist control for this one set-up to why we should attack constantly and how that affects not only our game, but our opponent's defenses and concentration.
And it all shows in my training. So that's nice. And though I'm frustrated and feel stagnant, it seems that I am the only one who thinks that about my game.
I imagine this is something that everyone has to go through during their training. At least, everyone who isn't BJ Penn (or some other equally ridiculously prodigious grappler) and has to suffer through life with regular concerns like a job and familial obligations. We're not learning knitting or how to make a collage. We're fighting. It's hard, and sometimes it sucks. But you're not always the best judge of your own progress. That's something worth remembering.