I spent this past weekend moving out of the house my wife and I bought nearly 14 years ago. As I’m sure any normal person would, while I was loading a trailer in the rain, I naturally started thinking of Jiu-Jitsu…
It is amazing how much stuff accumulates over time. Trip after trip hauling stuff outside, I was in awe with how much my family has. I’ve spent enough time in third world countries to be embarrassed by the enormity of my possessions. Sorting through things I found objects I use daily, others I occasionally use, and some objects I haven’t seen since tucking them in storage 10 years ago. Some are still useful, others are not.
As I started relating this to Jiu-Jitsu, I realized stepping away from one house to live in a new, completely different house that this is similar to progression in Jiu-Jitsu. I am a completely different Jiu-Jitsu player than I was 8, 5, even 2 years ago. When I started my BJJ journey, I was a guard guy. I had long, strong legs and held close guard like my life depended on it. I went for armbars and triangles from the bottom, and that was my entire game. 8 years later, I can’t remember the last time I used closed guard. 80% of my submissions were triangles. Now, I triangle someone once in a while, but more frequently attack elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles.
Just like the useless, sentimental stuff I had packed away in boxes, some of my BJJ techniques from long ago are no longer useful. Techniques I used to use all the time worked great on white belts, but would get me quickly submitted against the guys I train with now. Other techniques probably shouldn’t have even worked on white belts, but I got away with them because I was strong and athletic and the other white belts were as clueless as I was. Most of these techniques I threw out years ago, and a couple I still break out when I’m training with beginners. Some of my junk got tossed during this weekend’s move, and just like the back-up techniques, I’ll pack some back in storage another 10 years, just in case I need it someday.
Other useless items weren’t even hidden away unfortunately. We had some things sitting out in plain sight that have no value or practical use at all. We are used to having them around, so they stay. Sentimental or not, we need to cut some of these things from our life. In my Jiu-Jitsu game, there are these things as well. I developed bad habits years ago on the mat that still haunt me. I still do them because they are comfortable. To a certain degree, they define me, regardless of how many times my coaches chew me out about them. I’ve been told thousands of times never to lay flat on my back, but I still do frequently. I frequently turn the wrong way, grab the wrong arm, and get caught in basic submissions. The difference is that while once naive about these things, I now know imediately that I once again screwed up. Still, the habits remain. Now that I am moving, these impractical things have been once again brought to my attention, and I’m committed to purging them from my life.
And the triangle, my bread and butter move as a white belt…IT’S COMING BACK!!