One of the most intriguing and fascinating parts about the sport of jiu-jitsu is that you can walk into any gym in the country and notice a completely unique atmosphere. Ninety percent of the time, it’s a great environment filled with many different personalities, professions, and more. Of course, every once in a while, you can find an unwelcoming culture but those are so rare that it’s never really a worry. I started my personal journey in the middle of 2013 and since then have been blessed to travel for competitions and work and visit a fair number of local academies to witness these little cultures firsthand.
Some of these gyms were more self-defense based and others were almost completely sport oriented. The whole “journey” part of jiu jitsu always gets me thinking to a particular talk that was had at my own academy a while back about your own choices to train and how hard you might wish to push yourself on a particular day.
During competition preparation, the intensity clearly gets turned up a notch. Rounds get longer, points and positions matter more in your mind, and technique is critiqued more closely. But what about the time off from competition or the days when your body is there, but your mind isn’t? It isn’t exactly a secret that any sport is a highly mental game just as much, if not more so, than physical. During a normal night of rolling, you can see people on the mat, but you may also see a few “wall sitting.” These are the people that might be taking a breather, stretching, or observing who to pick out for their next round.
At the end of class in my gym one night, the subject of “wall sitting” was brought up as my instructor gave his closing thoughts. Here are the thoughts he shared with us:
“We all train for our own reasons and own purpose. Some of you want to be world champions, and that’s great. Others just want to have a spare moment to forget about work and the crap outside and do something healthy and active. That’s also great! You’re all on the same level of importance. If you are a competitor and want to go round after round, you’ll have people here who will push you. But if you see someone sitting on the wall who might need to take a break and they tell you they don’t want to roll right now, sometimes people just need that moment. If someone is staring off into the distance, maybe they just need to be here. It isn’t always about grinding and always trying to go a thousand percent. Sometimes it is about being in the environment around good people and just feeling that energy from those around you.”
There are many factors that can come into play when you get on the mat such as age, weight, skill, etc… but one thing that we all have in common is that we are all human. We all have emotion and we all deal with things in our own way. If you are one of those competitors or even recreational practitioners who trains and feels guilty for taking that moment for a mental break, don’t. Your academy should be a place where you can feel comfortable doing what you need to do to better yourself. Jiu-jitsu will always be there — remember to take care of yourself so you can keep on training.