Five Years

August 6, 2012 was the first day I walked into Mid-America Martial Arts. I took a tour of the facility, bought a gi, learned how to tie my belt, and the became completely exhausted from the warmup.

I had no idea back then that I’d still be doing this in 5 years. Nor did I realize that I wouldn’t stop with jiu jitsu. True, that’s the bulk of what I’ve trained in. According to Gym Time, an app I wrote to keep track of how much time I train, I have spent 928.5 hours in the past 5 years training BJJ.  If I can hit 71.5 hours in the next 4 months, I’ll be at 1000 by the end of the year. It’s going to be close. But in addition to BJJ, I have 113 hours of Judo and even this year started doing some Muay Thai and have accumulated 14 hours there.

I have done 11 tournaments in BJJ and one in Judo.

There were several things I didn’t know when I started. Basic things like how to tie a belt, or what belts were in BJJ. But I also didn’t realize the relationship between BJJ and Judo (as Mike Penny says, “The only difference is the rules you compete under.”) I also didn’t know there were tournaments, much less that I would do 11 of them. (I’m 12-31-3 at tournaments by the way.)

But BJJ and MAMAs has changed my life. I have met people there that I know have my back in life and I have their. I have gained confidence. It’s not that I necessarily doubted myself before (as my wife will tell you) but I was only confident in certain things, like my ability to write software or something like that. But now, through various trials in BJJ and Judo, I know that I can push myself.

I also know what it’s like to really want to quit. Not training, but to quit a tournament or a match for various reasons, whether it’s because I’m exhausted or because of anxiety or something else. I have to admit that I’ve given in to that desire a couple times. But there are more instances where I’ve been able to push that thought out of my head and press on.

I’ve had weeks where training 8 hours wasn’t enough, and I’ve had weeks where I didn’t make it into the gym and was okay with that.

I can’t even begin to count the number of sparring classes where I ask myself “Why do I do this?”

I’ve had bruised shins — not from Muay Thai, but from BJJ or Judo. I’ve only broken one bone (a lesser toe) and had the occasional sprain or strained joint.

I don’t know if there’ll be a 10 year anniversary blog or not. I don’t know if I’ll make it that far. I don’t know if this blog will still be a thing then. I don’t have any plans on quitting, but things happen.

Tomorrow is Monday. God willing, I will load up my bag with all the stuff I need to do a gi lesson over lunch and another one at night followed by an hour of sparring. I’ll get home about 13 hours after I leave in the morning, exhausted, needing a shower and longing for sleep. And I’ll be glad I did.


2 replies on “Five Years”

  1. stumbled upon your reply in a blog about starting bjj after 30, and ended up here, first post from 2012, and now this!

    Turning 33 soon, and just started two weeks ago, cant wait to see what will happen 🙂

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