Four years ago today I walked into Mid-America Martial Arts in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. I did a tour of the place and payed $95. It was $25 for the first month plus $70 for a white gi. I went into the bathroom and put on the gi with no idea how to tie the belt. I walked over to an area that was probably 20×10, where a beginners class was just getting ready to start.
There were 3 or 4 people in that class, and a guy standing at the front of the class with a worn & tattered blue belt, tattoos all over his body. He showed me how to tie my belt, I lined up with the others and class started. I don’t remember a whole lot from that day. I remember it was HOT. I remember I was out of shape. I remember the warmup hurt and drained me. I remember leaving class, changing back into my shorts & t-shirt and heading to my car. My t-shirt was soaked.
I didn’t say it to anyone at the time, but I was hooked. I was 2 months away from being 35, and had never done anything like that. I’m still not sure why BJJ resonated with me. I think it was several factors. It was physical, something different from my day job of a software developer. It wasn’t just physical, though. It involves strategy, which activated something in my brain. The people at MAMAs are super helpful and friendly. All of those things factored in, I’m sure.
A few months after I started, I started logging every class I took. In the past 4 years, I’ve spent 825 hours doing BJJ/Judo, and another 168 hours doing “conditioning.” The BJJ breakdown looks like this: