Friday, February 1, 2013

Purple belt

Its been a little over a year now since I was promoted to purple belt. It was a odd combination of excitement, accomplishment, and dread when I saw Geoff out of the corner of my eye approaching me with my purple belt dangling from his hand.

I felt a bull's eye craved in my back as the purple belt was wrapped around me. That intentionally or even just subconsciously my training partners would put forth their best efforts in trying to tap me or pressure me or use me as a barometer of their games. I found myself discouraged as I thought about my new competition waiting for me at tournaments. But what I was really worried about was my game, how inadequate I felt to be a purple, the glaring holes that I thought somehow Geoff missed or choose to ignore. "Certainly, I truly do not deserve this promotion," I told myself.

To make up for these insecurities I push. I pressured. I tried to force myself to be better.

Then a random weekend afternoon we headed over to Forged Fitness. In the middle of a marathon rolling session I was matched up with a blue belt. Minutes were passing as I was getting more exhausted, until finally I had no energy left. I got tapped. Gasping for air, I thanked my training partner and crawled to the wall. With my head down and back against the wall, desperately trying to recover, Billy looked at me and informed me "you're not done." He threw back in there with the blue.

I got my ass kicked. I moved, positioned, and defended with every ounce of energy I had left but every time I would find myself tapping. Eventually a brown belt took the blue's place and it just made the submissions more frequent.

I laid there, exhausted, beaten up, dominated. There it no longer matter what belt I held....I was stuck there and my preconceived notices of required skill set for my belt color wasn't going to help me. There is were I was freed from bounding myself to my own expectations.

This liberation from holding myself to my own ridiculous standards has been the most tangible moment of clarity I've had as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner. And its been the best thing that ever happened to my game. 

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