Tuesday 1 September 2009

Surrounded by positivity...

I’ll open this entry with a bit of a catch up on recent training. It’s been a bit patchy for me recently what with trips up North doing my Dry Stone Walling and the odd evening away due to work. It’s amazing how out of it you can feel just missing a week or so of training… consistency really is the key to progress. Anyway, for about as long as I can remember back, we’ve been working on using the open guard…drilling, drilling, drilling, week after week, but it’s paying dividends. I’m not great at it at all but I feel a whole lot more comfortable using this position than I used to. I think it’s good to major on aspects like this until you really start to feel at home in a certain place. Using the open guard well in a defensive fashion leads to so many offensive opportunities it really is worth the time and effort.

One thing I have felt though and this has been compounded by missing a few sessions is that I’ve slipped backwards a bit at worst and plateaued at best in terms of the whole movement/sensitivity thing that I was kind of getting. I feel I’ve resorted to a much more grappling/strength game lately and not only does this feel mentally disappointing, but it’s a whole lot tougher. I also feel that a lot of the guys around me are moving ahead. Simon is just awesome these days, but the other guys are making good progress too…don’t get me wrong…it’s great to see and I’m dead chuffed for anyone that improves – this is more of a commentary on my own self-perceived stagnation at the moment. Over the last couple of sessions, both Simon and Dean have given me a few pointers which have reminded me of where the real Jiu Jitsu lies. Time to get back to the source!

I’m finding my schedule tough at the moment too:

Monday nights – Jiu Jitsu,
Tuesday nights – BMF
Wednesday – off
Thursday nights
BMF Followed by Jiu Jitsu
Friday Off
Saturday morning – BMF, occasional Jiu Jitsu p.m.
Sunday – Off

It’s not awful, but Thursday is really tough, but I’m keen to get three BMF sessions in a week as this is where my fitness and weight loss comes from…plus it’s really good fun. It just means I arrive at Jiu Jitsu thoroughly knackered. However, on the upside it also means I have to work good techniques as I’m too tired to give it the strong man, plus this risks all out cramp…every cloud etc. It’s OK – just have to make sure I’m hydrated and that I get plenty of rest between sessions….not easy with my kids waking up with the sunrise at the moment!

I want to spend the rest of this entry talking about surrounding yourself with positive people, positive friends.

As an opener, I want to congratulate one of my good friends, and previous cast member of this blog, Big Dean. Some time back, Big Dean switched his training to Roger Gracie’s Academy in Kilburn, mainly out of convenience of its schedule and location. The last time I saw Dean train, his improvement was dramatic – he’s clearly getting a lot from his four + sessions a week and the excellent tuition available there. Well, A couple of weeks back, there I was, browsing the forum over on EFN and there was the news of Dean’s promotion to Purple Belt. I’ve already spoken with Dean and given my congratulations, but here it is again….really well done and well deserved. And to have gotten it from the current undisputed world champion in Jiu Jitsu and one of the Gracie family's most successful competitors (Roger) is just awesome. Nice one Mate.

So, yeah, positive people, good friends. In the course of my work, I’ve hosted a number of sessions with various people on motivation and positive mindset. I’ve also heard on a number of occasions about top sportsmen and women who make sure that the set up around them, their training partners, coaches etc etc are all the right people – people that make them feel good – positive and encouraging. This is distinct from “yes” men as I’m talking about people that you intrinsically trust to have your best interests at heart, even if giving you tough feedback.

The importance of this is so true. Negativity just drags you down. I mention this as something happened to me recently that made me realise that all of my friends in Jiu Jitsu are a great source of positivity. I’ve spoken many times about my good friends in Jiu Jitsu and I’ve just realised what it is that makes them all such great people to be around. They’re all always really genuinely happy that you’re there, interested in how you’re doing. They all want to help and create the right climate for good things to happen. Without fail, they’ll always energise me, make me feel positive about what I’m doing, comment if they think I’ve lost weight, small stuff like that, it really matters – it’s just a really encouraging and positive place to be. Although I don’t have the same friendships at BMF (I’ve only been there a few months), the atmosphere is the same. I love it and I thrive on it – it’s a good place for me to be.

Outside of this setting, there are always people at work and elsewhere, people that claim to be friends that will seek to undermine your credibility and confidence in horribly Machiavellian ways – I just don’t understand or like it. Equally I don’t understand what it is about some settings, like Jiu Jitsu, that make it so unlike the rest of the world “out there”. It must just be a shared experience, interest, hope and aspiration. In counselling, they call it Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR) – valuing someone at the most fundamental human level.

To illustrate this, another thing I stumbled across on the EFN forum is the story of a guy that trains at Gracie Barra Birmingham. I think his name is Steve Fan. He recently discovered that he has cancer in one kidney and his lungs. I’ve never met this guy but really feel shocked by his news… I can’t imagine how that must feel to be given that news. What’s so great about this shocking story though is the resultant messages of support from the rest of the Jiu Jitsu community. Such positivity must really give Steve a great boost and give him the positivity to fight his situation. It’s just great and I wish Steve every positive outcome.

I’ve mentioned before another blog titled Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood. A great title – descriptive of how friendship should be and can be.