One Year in Jiu Jitsu!

So last Tuesday I survived USMLE Step 1, but also marked ONE YEAR of training jiu jitsu! Hard to believe. This year has definitely flown by.

So what’s changed in a year? What has jiu jitsu done for me so far? And each one of these applies to lessons learned in jiu jitsu that also have a greater extension into everyday life.

10. It’s given me an outlet for stress/frustration. Life isn’t always fair, and school is often frustrating. And at the end of a really long day there’s no greater way to relax and clear your mind than on the mats in what really are life and death situations. I may have had the worst day, but once you walk through the doors of the academy and are greeted by all your teammates with a smile the bad day doesn’t seem so important.

9. It’s helped me get into/stay in shape. It requires an entirely new level of physical fitness to grapple for 5 or 6 matches in a row, and even more to do that at a tournament. Sure, I may not run 6 miles a day, but I know I’m in incredible shape. Plus, I have these crazy things called muscles (specifically abs, biceps, and triceps) now.

8. It’s taught me self-discipline and that you get out what you put in. If I don’t go to class, I won’t improve. It’s that simple. And when I’m in class if I only half-heartedly drill or train, I will only get half the results. And if I eat terrible foods and don’t drink enough water, I’ll suffer that night at training. And the ONLY person who decides that is me.

7. It’s given me confidence in myself. I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to be an introvert and don’t always believe in myself. Since starting jiu jitsu I walk around with much more confidence because if I can survive every day on the mats, I know there’s not much more that life can throw my way that I can’t handle.

6. It’s taught me that even the worst possible scenario has a way out. Sometimes that means being patient for a little while in a very terrible spot, but with patience and the right technique there’s always an escape.

5. It’s taught me endurance and perseverance. I started 1 year ago with absolutely no martial arts experience, and looking back between then and now it amazes me how much I’ve improved. That comes with showing up day after day, getting smashed day after day, and tapping day after day. It’s a long journey.

4. It’s taught me how to lose. Actually, it’s taught me that losing isn’t the end of the world, and that more often than not it teaches you more than winning. Winning, obviously, is awesome. But when you lose you realize what it is you need to work on and improve.

3. It’s taught me how to love to learn. Every single class we learn 4 new techniques. I’ve learned that I won’t remember them all, but I love to see what really cool new trick I’ll be able to have up my sleeve. Life, after all, requires you to never stop learning.

2. It’s given me the chance to be part of an incredible family. I genuinely believe I have the greatest jiu jitsu family out there. The outpouring of support and willingness to help in whatever way possible is second to none. I personally think it’s the greatest thing about jiu jitsu.

1. It’s taught me that your dreams are never too big. A year ago I would have never in my wildest dreams thought that a goal of mine would to be a black belt, or to be a world champion. But now I know that those dreams, while extremely hard, are within reach.

Special thanks to EVERYONE at the Toledo academy for pushing me to always do better. And especially to Chris, Aaron, Juan, John, William, Justin, Mike, Jeremy, Jed, and all the teens because at one time or another each one of you kept me coming back, pushed me harder, and gave me that confidence I needed. And to all my family and friends for their support at tournaments and every single day.

I've come a long way from my first day of jiu jitsu class where I couldn't figure out how to do the shoulder rolls or shrimping across the floor and the flower sweep seemed impossible.

So… one year down, the rest of my life to go.  Really excited to continue onward. 

What my backyard has turned into....

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