Starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu again

It’s been well over a decade since I’ve trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). I’ve always wanted to start back up again–when I trained, it was a big part of my life… not just the martial art, but the way of life and the people around me. I actually still keep in touch with some folks that I used to train with. As much as people knock on Facebook, I actually enjoy seeing their updates.

I’ve been ramping BJJ back up again over the last 3 weeks, and I can say that I’m sore and out of shape. But it’s true what they say, it’s like riding a bike. There are several go-to moves that I still have, and it’s fun to catch people off guard (no pun intended). It’s coming back quickly, and I’m hoping that I can keep this up for a while.

Anyway, I wanted to share 3 points in this post:

1. I miss the people that I used to train with.
If you’re one of my old comrades reading this, I hope you’re doing well. I’m reminded of the good ol’ days as hit the mat again. One of the people that I miss the most is Mark Smith. I used to train with him and his son, Ian. Mark passed away a few years ago, and I still find myself emotional thinking about all the times we shared together. I don’t talk about it much, but he was the one that got me to join his school–I didn’t realize that it would have so much impact on me. As I roll with folks, I’m reminded of all our good times talking about martial arts, watching UFC and training together.

2. I need to find my identity outside of work.
I’ve found myself living a minimalist life in San Francisco. I’m proud to have downsized my life, living with less, spending less, etc. The only problem with minimalism is that I the majority of my time is focused on work or growing in my career. I’ve found that most of my conversations somehow gravitate back to work or a project that I’m building. Don’t get me wrong–work, design and my team are a huge part of life, but sometimes it’s probably consumed me. Like any addiction, too much is not healthy. BJJ is bringing back a part of me that I’ve needed for a long time. I’ve had a chance to activate my mind in a different way, forcing me to be creative, observative, and most of all, inspired. I think this is the first of many things to come to extend my network and I’m hoping to tap into a new source of creative energy.

3. Humility is one of the most important lessons.
The act of tapping (a submission), is a way to communicate with your sparring partner that they have reached check-mate. Once you tap, you start over again. While the goal is not to get submitted, it’s part of process. If you don’t tap, you don’t learn. There’s a deeper meaning, and I think this is one of the most important lessons that I’m reminded of. If you want to learn, you have to be willing to tap. It’s how you build muscle memory and defensive tissue so it can avoid it next time.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. While I love BJJ, it comes with a cost. I’m pretty bruised up, sore and exhausted. But my spirits are revitalized. If you’re in SF and you want to train, hit me up.

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