Jiu Jitsu Takes *Time*
It's Not an Illusion
One of the things that I used to hate hearing at the beginning of my journey in martial arts was that “these things take time.” I really didn’t like the idea that things took time. To me, time was a barrier between me and the end result that I wanted.
When I played Pokemon, I ran through the tall grass and encountered tons of Pokemon that I promptly smashed with my strongest starter, never actually enjoying the game itself.
When I did taekwondo, I refused to mentally accept that it would take time for my flexibility to develop so I could get the kicks as high as I wanted.
When I began jiu jitsu, I struggled with the notion that I would have to get the feel of certain things through repetitions, practice, and of course…time.
The idea that jiu jitsu takes time is meant to help us be patient, but for me, I am an impatient folk. Still, I’ve come to admire and honor my feelings whenever I am told to slow down — not necessarily from my coaches or teammates, but from heartful intuition.
But, slowing down can be scary. It can be hard to do that when the perception is that everyone is doing everything in their power to succeed, to gun for that next rank promotion or medal. As I’ve discovered though, some things cannot be rushed — and so, here’s a list of things that take time in jiu jitsu (and maybe even life):
Wisdom. Specifically the wisdom to listen to your own feelings and to honor them.
Timing. The window to pull off certain techniques can be very small and fleeting.
Strength. It takes time for our body to adapt to new stressors and be able to handle them.
Focus. The ability to block out or redirect distractions requires practice under pressure, in a variety of contexts and intensities.
Boundaries. A key part of maintaining boundaries is knowing your preferences and desires, and then putting those into action.
Relationships. Even if I instantly connect with someone, relationships take real work and dedication from all involved to have us enjoy each other’s presence.
Mindfulness. It’s easy to decide to be more mindful, but this is a daily practice, refined by running through the grooves over and over again.
Acceptance. When I was younger, I was all about pushing past my limitations, even if it was unrealistic or had a bad ROI. Now I understand that part of life is accepting myself for who I am.
Thanks for reading and reflecting,
Founder of The Mental Arts