Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Black Belts Bowl Overhand!

I'm warming up the bones for a treatise on being a two-week black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The theme is perspective.

There's a saying that a high school senior is more mature than a college freshman. In my not-always-obviously-humble-opinion, not every new black belt has always kept this in mind.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I could not be more thrilled, motivated and grateful to train with the folks I've been able to train with over the past six-plus years. I think about my teammates. I think about what some of the black belts have told me over the past few weeks, and how they've trained with me over the past several years. And I tell you what: I hear a lot about what a lot of people around the country put up with trying to learn jiu-jitsu. And from a certain perspective, training at GB Seattle since 2005, I have it easy. No drama. No nonsense. All I have to do is work hard every day. And I grow.

You know when it hit me that I had really earned a black belt in jiu-jitsu? Not when Prof. Rodrigo first put it on (I was too scared to look down, for fear it would turn into a snake like in The Ten Commandments), but awhile later when I had finished a little training and was back in the locker room getting changed. I had just wrapped my gi jacket with the belt (as I've done for years) and tucked it into my gear bag with the rest of the sweat-heavy gear.

I'm standing there, looking down into that same gear bag I've been toting back and forth to training for years, to tournaments, to seminars ... that same torn, re-stitched and gorilla-taped gear bag hauled back and forth to Bonney Lake, Fife, Tully's location, Airport Way, Bellevue, Ballard, Olympia ... and I'm asking myself: What is that black belt doing in MY bag? Wrapped around MY gi jacket, next to MY towel, MY knee brace and rashguard?

It's a silly little image that I'm still getting used to.