It’s hard not to compare ourselves to our training partners. After all, we spend time competing and training with them every day. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a competitive sport, and both partners are trying their best to win. In this way Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be both a team sport and an individual sport. We need our training partners to improve but we compete against them everyday in training. Perhaps, we may even go toe to toe at the tournament ( what are your thoughts on closeouts?) Sometimes we look at someone else’s performance and let it make us feel bad about ours. Maybe we feel that they are progressing faster than us or that we should be more like them. Comparisons are dangerous. Sometimes they may push us to work harder and be better, but they can also add pressure and make us feel needlessly frustrated. They make us focus on someone else’s achievements rather than fixing our gaze on our own progress. A little healthy competition can be good for you, but don’t let it make you forget your own journey.
Remember that people grow at different rates. This can be for many different reasons. Some people have more time to train than others. Some people compete more and progress because they are testing themselves in a pressure-filled environment. Some people just seem to have a natural knack for picking up techniques. If you see someone who seems to be learning more quickly than you, don’t sweat it. Do what you can, learn at your own pace, and enjoy the process. Don’t let someone else’s progress steal your love for the sport. Everyday spent on the mats is an opportunity to grow and improve your Jiu Jitsu.
People can also develop different aspects of their games at different times. Maybe you have been spending a lot of time working your guard, but your training partner has been focusing more on passing. Their passing will improve faster than yours, but you are growing in different areas of your Jiu Jitsu game. Progress is also not always steady. It comes in spurts. Your teammate might be hitting a big breakthrough in their Jiu-Jitsu, and that’s why it seems they are progressing faster. Hang in there, because you have your own breakthroughs coming.
Everyone has good days and bad days. The same person that I smash on Monday may tap me out on Friday when I’m feeling sore and tired. So many factors can go into a day’s performance, so try not to worry too much about one training session. Be in it for the long game. Focus on making progress over time, not just in one day or one week. As the saying goes, “ It’s a marathon not a sprint”
People have different goals. One person may aspire to be a world champion, while someone else may just want to pass a guard that has been giving them trouble. We all have aspirations. Your goals don’t have to match anyone else’s. Figure out what you want to achieve, and work towards that. Measure your progress according to your goals and only yours. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for everyone one, do not let social media influence your goals and aspirations within this wonderful martial art.
At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to improve and hopefully enjoy ourselves at the same time. If we hang in there long enough, we all make it to black belt, whether it takes five years or twenty-five. And then, we realize the journey is just beginning.