I’m fortunate to be part of one of the most accomplished and talented Jiu Jitsu teams in the world. I’m surrounded by people who are better than me. This is a great thing, because iron sharpens iron. When a room full of talented, motivated people are consistently and feverishly pushing each other, everyone improves.
Something I’m becoming increasingly aware of is that we’re often blind to our own improvements and accomplishments. I see it with white belts all the time, they’re so often focused solely on how much they don’t know. What they ignore is that just a few short weeks ago they couldn’t finish the warmup or tie their belt properly, and today they’re walking the newest student through a hip toss.
Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” -Chinese Proverb
The path to a Jiu Jitsu black belt is a marathon and not a sprint, one that will 100% be extremely frustrating and challenging at times. But there are unbelievable peaks that will greatly outweigh the valleys. Let this serve as a reminder to take stock of the incremental improvements you make along the way. The ability to do this will keep you motivated and confident through the inevitable plateaus in your training.
As an instructor I can easily notice improvements in my student’s Jiu Jitsu, but they never seem to notice it themselves. The thing is this: as we get better, so do our teammates. And this happens at different rates, so it’s easy to feel like a bum when your peers seem to jump light-years ahead of you. Relax, you’re improving too!
Should you shout from the mountaintops in jubilation every time you pass a classmate’s guard? Of course not. But as you drag yourself to the car after managing to push through your first ten minute round, stop and smile in acknowledgment of your achievement. The journey will be a much more fulfilling one if you allow yourself these small victories.