When I lived in Boston, I used to walk over two miles to go train at Gracie Barra Boston. As I’m sure you can imagine, the snowy winters complicated this endeavor. Leaving the cozy confines of my dorm room to walk to go get submitted for over an hour seemed crazy. It became an even harder addition to my schedule when I had an off-campus job and a full course load. That said, I was determined to not let my going off to college hinder my jiu-jitsu journey. I challenged myself to maintain training regularly as part of my routine, whether it was convenient or not.
I did it because I knew it would be worthwhile. And most things that are worthwhile are not going to be easy and will often seem crazy.
I remember one of my first professors, a five-time world champion, once told our class how he hates competing. In response to our confusion and surprise, he went on to elaborate that the entire process of getting competition-ready is extremely demanding and difficult for him. But that is exactly why he does it. If we don’t have something holding us accountable, whether it be an impending competition or just an urge to improve our jiu-jitsu, it’s more difficult to stay in line with our goals. He so accurately articulated a concept that really resonated with me and continues to today: it is doing those things which scare us the most, challenge us the most, that inspire and evoke growth.
The days where your bed seems more inviting than the mats, or the sidewalks are snowy, or you are incredibly sore, are the most important days to train. The moment we feel like stopping or giving up is the deciding moment where we can choose growth over surrender.
Simply showing up is a victory. It is often the days that I do not feel like training that I need it the most. It’s the days where I have been stressed out over schoolwork, up late finishing projects, or exhausted that the simple escape that the mats have to offer is the perfect medicine.
We all need a break sometimes, and some days we should allow ourselves to listen to our bodies and take a step back. But you aren’t going to feel like training every day, and while motivation wavers, it is discipline that we need to harness and employ. Identifying your personal “why,” remembering why you began, could be the very thing that pushes you to continue in moments of uncertainty.
It’s easy in the beginning when you first fall in love with jiu-jitsu, but it’s when you realize that progress may be slower than expected that it’s important to push through and continue. Jiu-jitsu will always be there, but motivation will not — make the conscious choice to train and hold yourself accountable.
Nothing worth having is going to be easy to obtain, and to show up for yourself and your goals, especially when you don’t feel like it, will pay off. A year from now, you will be glad you showed up on the days you didn’t feel like it. It is always going to be easier to take the day off, but leading a life of taking the easy way out is not going to produce results. Doing the things that make us uncomfortable, and are difficult, are going to result in achieving goals. This is a philosophy that stretches into areas of my life beyond jiu-jitsu — I strive to “show up” for myself regularly, and intentionally, whether I feel like it or not.
I, personally, am excited to see what happens if I continue to show up on the days I don’t feel like it.