What I've recently realized is that sometimes we're in such a hurry to be "extraordinary" that we often forget that the most advanced techniques come from a strong base of basics. Take, for example, medical school. We started off in biochemistry - the building block, and are now in infection & immunity, a class I would consider to be advanced. However, the other day when studying I realized that simply memorizing these big "fancy" medical words weren't going to make me a great doctor unless I actually understood what they mean- which meant going back to the basics. I don't want to become the kind of doctor that can throw out all the medical jargon in the world, but cannot for the life of them have a regular conversation with a patient. Basics. A med student can get so wrapped up in the books and being sequestered in the silent library that they forget something as simple as how to communicate effectively.
This was true not only of med school this week, but of BJJ. We went back to the very basics this week - learning how to survive and escape. Something most white belts learn their first week of training. And yet, every week after that first week you are given 4 techniques a class, and if you go to 3 classes a week, that's 12 shiny new techniques that you're not only supposed to remember, but are also supposed to know how to put them into your game. Let me tell you, I'd like to think I have a fairly good memory, but I can barely remember what we learned 2 weeks ago. So when we were repping the basic moves, I all of a sudden realized that I hadn't been using them. I had gotten so bogged down in trying to remember all of these advanced techniques that my entire game was suffering from lack of basics. There's no way I am going to be able to get into a superior position or work toward a choke if I can't escape a bad position. It's all about basics!
So I've decided to take a step back in all aspects of life. Your foundation of basics is important in everything. Some days when I wake up, I feel so defeated and stressed by school that I forget why I'm there in the first place. The same goes for BJJ - after I get tapped out by a higher belt several times in a 6 minute match it's easy to want to give up. But you stand up, brush yourself off, and start at the beginning - survive and escape.
This has been the quote I've decided to live by this week by -
"Sometimes it's a cry of joy, sometimes it's a roar of despair. Once you walk on that mat, you know you have only two ways out - victory or defeat. How much of yourself you put into it everyday helps defining which one it's going to be. So, how much did you put today?"
It is true not only of jiu jitsu, but also medical school, and whatever else your goal is in life. If you want to be the best at BJJ, get a great residency, run a marathon, or be in a relationship you will either succeed or you won't, and the choice is up to you.
Side note.... On Friday there is a female only open mat for BJJ up in Michigan. Girls and women from all over come to train together and inspire each other to continue being a fighter in all aspects of our lives. They are there to let you know that, while you may be the only girl in your academy, you are not the only girl out there who loves the sport of jiu jitsu. And that girls can be just as strong, fierce, and athletic as men. I am incredibly excited.
So, make sure you leave everything you have "on the mat" every single day. Every night you should feel like you did everything you could to make yourself a better person and that much closer to reaching your goals. But also remember it doesn't have to be doing crazy complicated things. You want to run a marathon? It starts with running a mile. You want to be a great doctor? It starts with having compassion and understanding. Getting to the point where you can run 26.2 miles, or being able to diagnose patients using all the knowledge you've gained is the endgoal... but somedays you need to remember it only takes one step to get moving toward your dreams.
So here's to you, dreamers. One step at a time.
Labels: basics, BJJ, dreamers, extraordinary, medschool, on the mat