Today Celebration Day Eve: one day before my jiu-jitsu anniversary. And while the biggest part of the celebration in many ways was an outstanding seminar by two-time middleweight jiu-jitsu champion, Otavio Sousa, the more important part long-term might be my return to training with my the home mat.
I picked up a home mat years ago when I was a blue belt with a stripe or two. It was far too small to share. Instead, I used it as a jiu-jitsu conditioning tool, developing a handful of cardio and agility-boosting routines that I did a few times a week - again, especially as a blue belt and purple belt.
Suffice to say that I haven't spent nearly as much time on the home mat over the last year or two. That hasn't been for lack of opportunity, either. I'm still "blessed" (as the kids say) with a job that allows me to work from home for what is now five and a half years and running (two different jobs; same blessing). And while this afford me with a number of opportunities, none are more immediate than the ability to spend 20 minutes doing high intensity jiu-jitsu drills pretty much any time I want to.
Coach Ed asked me earlier today after the seminar if I missed competing. I don't miss losing, which characterized my purple and brown belt competition campaigns. But I miss the camaraderie of the competitor, the focus of the preparation. And I bugs me that I think I'd probably be a lot better at that part of the process now than I was then.
I'm a big believer in setting yourself up for success, establishing goals that are distinct not by their inherent majesty, but through their own attainability to lead incrementally to ever more credible achievement. Get flexible for the first time in your life. Train 12 times a month every month for a year. Add HICT cardio after every session. Now train 15 times a month. Bring back home mat conditioning 3-4 times a week.
The past year has found me with an occasional "fear of commitment" when it comes to training. Part of this was getting used to a new work routine, a pretty flexible one I'll admit, and trying to accommodate my training time and jiu-jitsu goals to it. A part of it is feeling as if the opportunities for the kind of "memorable moments from my jiu-jitsu that a 90-year old burientopteam wouldn't mind reflecting upon sentimentally are still here, but not becoming any more abundant from year to year ...
There's a part of me that would love to leave a little smudge that resembles my name in the IBJJF history books. And I don't think there's anything wrong in saying so.