By now, you’ll have seen a trend emerging in my posts. The same people training week in week out. The same FEW people. Most sessions I guess we average 3 guys, four at most.
There was no training tonight. Rick’s away until at least December and Big Dean is away with work. It happens. No problem with that. Anyone would be forgiven for missing training from time to time – we all have jobs, family, friends etc, and Si, Dean and Rick already give so much of their time anyway. In any club with a good, strong membership, you can absorb these intermittent absences, but as things stand, that just leaves me and Si as guaranteed tonight and there’s only so much value in rolling with the same guy all night, and I’m sure Si’s got better things to do than choke or armbar me all night.
No training sucks – I really look forward to it and there’s only the odd evening when I don’t want to train, but, so long as I can drag my ass to the car, then once I get there it’s all good again.
So, excuse me for a moment while I cast aside my normally sunny disposition, and indulge me if you will, in a bit of griping.
There’s something special about being part of a school affiliated to Rickson’s Association. Ask anyone into BJJ, who’s right up there at the top of BJJ folklore, and Rickson’s name will rightly be there every time. When people carry a belt awarded against Rickson’s standards, other people take notice. Lots of practitioners would walk over broken glass to train with Rickson, or to at least have one of his schools near them. I can only think that any desire not to could only be motivated by politics, which I have no time for anyway, so care little for opinions such as these.
We have a club that was started by a guy totally committed to Rickson’s teaching and philosophy and driven to pass this on to those that wanted to understand. People come and go…I’ve seen it enough just in my time training and I admire Dean T for sticking with it as long as he has – it must be so demoralising to believe in something so absolutely and yet not have people share your passion. I feel this. It’s not my club, I haven’t trained as long and I doubt I possess any natural talent, but I believe in what we’re doing and I believe in the style of Jiu Jitsu that flows from Rickson. If I didn’t, I would have gone elsewhere a long time ago, quite possibly from the start.
So, here I am, fed up. Not with Jiu Jitsu, but fed up with apathy. There is a real chance for this to be something really great for all those involved, but it needs more commitment. There are people that we do not see for many months, show up for one session, then disappear again – there’s no pattern to this, totally random, so no reliance can be put in the numbers of so-called “existing members”. We need new members, and I guess we could do more on this front, but, for example, I listed our club on the European Fight Network. We’ve had approaching 200 hits in a couple of months and only a couple of enquiries…all to no avail. I simply do not understand.
Something I’ve been told by lots of people on numerous occasions about Jiu Jitsu, is that you should not “play in the middle” – either take a position, or don’t. It’s sound advice. I think it’s just as relevant off the mat. Train Jiu Jitsu, or don’t. Don’t play in the middle. Don’t treat it like a convenience that you can pick up and put down as you please. We’re all different and have different motivations and issues in our lives, but when you boil it down, most of us are leading pretty normal lives with no great dramas or issues that should prevent us doing what we want to be doing. So, I guess that’s the question – is Jiu Jitsu what you want to be doing? If “yes”, great, I’ll see you at regular training, no ifs, no buts. Hell, I have lots of ifs and buts, but (there's one) I want to train. It’s important enough to me. If “no”, then make a decision now. Be honest and stop pretending. In Big Dean’s words, stop being a “partial artist”.
Something has got to happen – as much as I want it to, the club cannot continue, limping along as it has for the last couple of years. So, if you answered “yes” to the above question, let’s do it. Let’s get training and start making things work. If we don’t, one day pretty soon, that random evening you think “I’ll pop along to training”, we won’t be there. It will have died and so with it, a chance to be part of something good.
Sure, this is just my opinion and lots of people see the world differently. I’m not saying any of this aimed at anyone in particular, nor am I saying it to get a reaction. It’s not just Jiu Jitsu either, I experienced it in my last Martial Art and I’ve heard Steve Morris similarly puzzled by people’s commitment to training with him (and I've said it before, if you're serious about real fighting, you should be). I've seen it all through my Rugby days - the people that don't turn up to train but show up on Game Day expecting to get on the team. It seems that only a small percentage of the population have the commitment to stick stuff out. If you feel hurt by it, I apologise, that wasn’t my intention, but likewise, maybe you need to ask why you feel hurt by it. All I’ve done here is give my opinion, and it’s honest and heartfelt.
Rant over…back to the scheduled programme. Thanks for humoruring me.