I got my first stripe in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after six months of training and it feels really good. Knowing that all of my hard work has lead to being recognized and taking a step forward however small is quite satisfying. I have come to love this sport and I am really grateful to be apart of my team. Growing as a group while seeing all of the progress that everyone has been making is really cool. I have learned much about myself over these last six months and find it hard to believe that I am still more or less at the starting line.
Growth is something that can take a frustratingly long time. These small milestones really help to propel you forward to keep progressing. At the end of the day the more effective path for growth is to focus on the improvement that you see in yourself as opposed to an external factor. The external validation is of course a very nice piece of reinforcement that you are heading in the right direction.
Over the last few weeks I have found myself getting a lot more successful submissions and getting caught in bad spots much less frequently. I feel that I have reached a new level of ability and am beginning to get some base skills that I can fall back on when I get into a bad spot. Getting good at anything is such a process especially when you are first getting started. I remember being three months in and having new people show up and get me into bad positions with me wondering what I was doing wrong. It is a process to gain skill and begin to understand what it is that you should even be focusing on to help move yourself forward.
This stripe is only the first small step forward in what I intend on being a long journey but in many ways I may look back on it being one of the more important steps forward. In whatever you are pursing getting past the “white belt” skill level is really often the hardest part. The lack of direction and slew of information can make it really difficult to grasp what it is that you even need to focus on. I believe that it was doing my first two tournaments that helped me see what it is that I should be focusing on to help me get some basic skill sets to fall back onto. So whatever it is you are pursuing find your version of a tournament and treat it as an opportunity to find out what you should be focused on in your training.
I mainly wanted to document my thoughts on this milestone of my journey and what I believe helped get me here. I really do think that all skill acquisition follows a similar pattern for development and you just need to prepare yourself for the difficultly that you will likely face when getting started in something new. BJJ has so much depth to it and so many different approaches that it isn’t really possible to learn everything there is to know. So accepting that fact and then finding what path feels right for you while focusing on fundamentals is all you can really do while getting started and this is true of many different types of pursuits.
Let me know how your first stripe felt or whatever small step forward you made in your pursuit and if you relate to my experience. Follow my blog for email updates on when new posts go live, thanks for reading!