Once you’ve been training jiu-jitsu for a few years, it’s hard to remember what life was like without it. Over time, a lot of us find that many aspects of our lives — friends, diet, even potentially our careers — start to revolve around the martial art. We can teach the techniques we once struggled with, and although we get frustrated sometimes, the idea of quitting forever has long exited our brains.
If you’re new to jiu-jitsu, though, all of that might sound wild. It’s easy to think of your upper belt teammates as always having been really good at jiu-jitsu — they surely never struggled to shrimp down the mats or figure out which leg goes where for a triangle choke. Getting that good and that passionate about the sport requires years of training, and you may not see yourself as ever getting to where they are.
The thing is, though, they were once in your position, too.
Literally everyone who has ever done jiu-jitsu has been where you are now: confused, maybe a bit out of shape, definitely clumsy. They had to ask teammates for help to tie their belt and got beaten up by everyone they rolled with. And believe it or not, many, if not all of them also have considered walking out and never coming back at least once.
Growth in anything happens one day at a time. Like a tree growing from a seed, your progress in jiu-jitsu may seem nonexistent from one day to the next. At some point, though, you’ll realize you’ve sprouted, and you’ll be able to look back on your time as a freshly planted seed and realize you are learning. Before long, you’ll have branches and leaves and start bearing fruit that will help other trees start their own journeys. But all of that takes accumulated growth, day by day, week by week, year by year.
If you’re thinking about quitting as a white belt because it’s all just too hard, just try sticking with it. It’s one thing to leave because you genuinely don’t enjoy jiu-jitsu, but quitting because it’s hard is a decision you’ll regret ten years down the line when you realize you could’ve been a legitimate black belt if you’d just kept showing up to class.