What I am about to share is something I am still trying to understand. I don’t know if it’s good or just a special event, which is reserved for some special and random days. This is rather personal and if i can help a few people get out of some fucking endless rabbit hole like I was, so be it.
When I try to put it in words, it always feels weird and I can’t even try to find the right words for it so bare with me. All I know is that I can only wish that you experienced this kind of feeling, unexplainable but memorable.
Not long ago, an intern wanted to come and train bjj with us. He trained a few months with us, 4-5 days a week. Since then, he’s been doing a little bit of training on his side. He wanted to see where we were at after about 8 months. He basically said he wanted to roll with me to see my progression.
When the day came, we did lots of rolls and had two groups, the comp team and the regulars. Nearing competition, we had to get lots of rolls in which we did. After all was said and done, my intern came and roll we did.
I am a big believer of trying to reach the perfect practice. Some kind of balance between energy, strength, technique and mental alertness.
I don’t know if that day was it, but it came as close as what I think it would feel like. Even though I was pretty beat up after rolling with guys 10 to 20 years younger than me and as much as 40lbs heavier, I believe that if you cant fight tired, you shouldn’t fight at all. Tired I was, but never would I back down from a challenge.
The strange thing is this. When I try to remember the 3 rounds we did, there is not one single moment I can remember seeing my buddy in front of me. I cant remember looking at him or seeing him. All I can remember is rolling with a shadow, a reflection, but for all I know, it was me, maybe my demons but all I know, is that I was rolling against myself. I played catch and release most of the time, only finishing a few submissions for the fun of it. When we were done, I kind of woke up, and saw him with his arms stretched out in disbelief asking my teacher what the fuck he has done to us…
It felt effortless, perfect timing, no strength, I saw all the opportunities and let go when felt inefficient. The flow felt perfect while I was in perfect control. We are far from black belt but having this kind of practice is what makes you understand how powerful jiujitsu is. This is not to discredit his technique or anything like that. I guess I had one great day of training.
But again, most of all, it felt like I was rolling against myself. Im going through some major events in my life and I honestly can say that if it wasn’t for bjj, I don’t know if I would be here today. I was going down a downward spiral, and I was drowning. I was not myself. I was the worst version of me.
One thing jiujitsu showed me, is to learn to control the situation and think. Don’t let panic take the best of you and provoke mistakes. It showed me to respect the weakness of your rolling partners. That we need to be a special kind of crazy to give our partners our necks and joints to let them practice what could probably kill the regular joes in the street, all in the name of practice, then tap, slap and go again. There is no ego in jiujitsu.
“The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one. Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self. Ego, the false idea of believing that you are what you have or what you do, is a backwards way of assessing and living life.” —Wayne Dyer
But then, What if all that led up to where I am today, whats happening, the people that came in my life and those who are leaving led up to that particular rolling session, where I fought against my own demons and basically understood who I am and where I am going?
I think that everything that led up to this day, now, is just part of the big plan, my big plan, which I still don’t know of, but it is slowly unveiling before my eyes.
My gym, my friends and warriors who introduced me to my brother from another mother Andrew, who is making an army of Jiujitsu players at the gym, and especially my son, who is one of my rolling partners on weekends. They all came in at a very “interesting and challenging” time in my life. They literally saved me from what would have been the start of the downward spiral of a dark depression. In the past year, my crew, my partners, family and friends, unbeknownst to them kept me up on my feet, they got me to walk with my head up.