To say Jiu Jitsu has been QUITE the learning experience for me would be an understatement! This past year has been huge in my personal growth on the mats, not just technically but mentally as well. Having to travel so much for work with the dedication to keep up on training, supporting as many seminars as possible and visiting other gyms has allowed me to see a broad range of jiu jitsu styles as well as various class structures and teaching methods. Every academy I have visited there have been things I loved and well things I could leave at the door. None the less I appreciate the difference everywhere I go and grow from every experience. I am blessed to have been subjected to such a large variety of jiu jitsu so early in my journey. I think when we start Jiu Jitsu we just take things as they are handed to us because well honestly we don’t know any better. Until you get out there and get exposed to various coached and professors, various class structures, different teaching techniques you have no way to compare or know what really works best for you. I have been able to identify what works for me and the environment in which allows me to truly grow and develop to maximize on my potential.
Getting to a strong place mentally and working on healing from my past has allowed me to do this. There was a time I couldn’t even imagine visiting another gym. The fear of the unknown, not knowing anyone and having no safety net kept me inside the walls of my home gym. Work travel forced me to step out of my comfort zone and start stepping on foreign mats. At first I always made sure to make it to an affiliated academy even if it meant driving hours. There would be phone calls beforehand and I’d show up early to feel it out nervous as could be looking for the quickest exit but I always managed to follow through and each time got a little easier. Before long I landed on a work trip where there was no affiliated academy so if I wanted to train then I was really going to have to branch out!!! I tried a few places and then was lucky to find a home away from home. This showed how much progress I had truly made the last couple years healing from my past. Am I over my past? Absolutely not. Are there still bad days and memories triggered? Yes. And all of that is okay! I have made peace with my progress. I know it is unrealistic to think I will ever fully get ‘over’ it. The important part is that I have made it to a place where it doesn’t control or define me.