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Stay Focused, Work Hard… or choose something new?

Hello everyone and welcome to our latest blog. This year I shall be trying to keep up with regular blogs, just like before. I do apologise that I was not so active last year. Unfortunately, sometimes I get so busy that I neglect to do simple things like this, as I am usually on the mat teaching a lot of the time. Like the famous business philosopher Jim Rohn used to say: “Easy to do… easy to not do”.

In today’s blog I would like to discuss something that I was thinking about just the other day. I was considering how many people I have seen come through the doors over the years. Who stick around and do the graft, and who actually never make it very far within the belt system. It kind of got me wondering as to why this would happen, and why only a few people will ever get as far as black belt.

So I came to realise that the martial arts in general; and specifically Brazilian jujitsu require the practitioner to stay focused for a very long period of time. Most classical martial arts take around three and half years to obtain a black belt. Typically in BJJ it will take around about 10 years (on average) if you wish to achieve the coveted black belt.

Early Days

It is very easy in the early days to remain focused because there is so many new things to learn, and the interest levels are high. Improvements come fast and are very clearly noticeable. I am sure we all remember our first sweep, or our first sub… or even lasting a round without getting tapped. These improvements are motivating and encouraging. However, after a while, these improvements are not so noticeable. After a prolonged period of this comes the realisation that the secret to jujitsu is quite simply to repeat the same tasks over and over again with sometimes little or no tangible signs of improvement. (Sometimes you even feel like you went backwards!!). And with it comes the realisation that you have a very long journey ahead that is basically nothing but hard work… and to complete this journey one must whilst remain totally focused on your objective, and why you started in the first place.

What are your options?

In my humble opinion that is essentially why people quit. You are basically faced with two options. The first is to remain focused and do the hard work required. The second is to find something else to do. This is how some people find themselves trying lots of different activities and new hobbies all the time. Because when the grind kicks in, and the focus is lost they move to a new interest. They will continue with that until that one also becomes hard work…. and then guess what? The cycle continues as they find another new activity to do. You can usually recognise these kinds of people because they have typically done everything… and they usually want to tell you all about it too! “I used to do boxing, I’ve done Taekwondo, I did Judo, I did Karate, I was a footballer, I’m also good at tennis, I used to be great at golf”. etc. etc. I’m sure we have all met somebody like that. But essentially (for me), what they are actually saying is; they did not have the burning desire to see any one of these activities through to the ultimate goal at the end.

The Solution

So, if you wish to have any longevity in Brazilian jujitsu you need to learn to remain absolutely focused on your goal, which I assume is black belt. You must be willing to put in the hard work over, and over again. No matter how boring, monotonous or laborious it gets. No matter how tired you are, or no matter if you’ve already practised scissor sweep 10,000 times and you think you “got it”. Do not simply give up and give yourself an excuse. Do not go to find a new activity, going to the gym, boxing, or any other activity. Having said that very few people have the concentration and right mindset to actually carry this out. That is why only a certain type of person will make it to black belt.

When I teach someone, it is my sincere intention, and deepest wish to see them get to black belt. That is my objective. That is what I am here to do! To help you along the path I have already been down. I always feel a slight sense of disappointment when people quit. I used to take it personally. But now I understand that some people just do not have the right make up to complete such an arduous task. (NOT that there is anything wrong with that… I couldn’t run a marathon… because I’m not willing to stay focused long enough and put that hard work in). I will always uphold my end of the bargain, and deliver the necessary training and facilities to help you achieve that.

Over To You!

The only barrier to your success and achievement is the state of your own mind, and your ability to remain focused. I am assuming because you started the journey you were initially interested in it… so why not see it through to the end? What will YOU do? Will you find an “excuse” and move on…. or will you persist, and stay focused and motivated? Whatever you choose to do…. I wish you all the best with your endeavours, and I sincerely hope that at least some of you will allow me the honour, of one day, tying a black belt around your waist. For those of you who struggle to keep the goal in mind, I urge you to try to remain focused, and be willing to put the work in… I can assure it’s worth it in the end! If you do move to new activities and objectives, then try to keep the idea of focus in the forefront of your mind. The lessons we learn from jujitsu apply to all areas of our lives. It’s easy to go to the gym three times a week for the first three months… but will you still be doing that three years later? The rugged determination, persistence and focus, needed to get black belt is also needed to get you through life.

Until next time… I’ll see you on the mats!! Ossssss!!!

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