Mar 5, 2021 • 3M

The Mental Arts Tidbit (Mar. 5)

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To say that Jonah is a comedian-philosopher would be an understatement. He has such a fun whimsical view of life combined with a seriousness and wisdom that anyone can benefit from.

In reading this, what parts of Jonah’s journey can you relate to?

Tracy (The Mental Arts):

Talk to me about that transition between blue and purple, because as we all know, blue belts are always thirsty for medals and glory. Because when you become a blue belt, you are no longer the baby baby of jiu jitsu.

So you're kind of just toddler jujitsu. And then you get to a point where you start getting more handle on what your body does. They say purple belt is when you are considered an expert grappler. So what is it about how do you think you evolved between those two belt ranks?

Jonas (Guest):

Yeah, I was a blue belt for a while. I recall, I think I, my, my blue belt, I'm going to say 18 months or something like that. It was relatively fast. Wrestling really helped that transition, having that background. Between getting my blue and getting my purple, you know, there was a long time and it was a lot of both growth on and off the mat. Off the mat, I moved from Utah to DC.... [a] Couple times actually. Moved out here for an internship, trained at BETA, came back to Utah, finished my degree, then moved out to DC again and just tried, you know, tried to establish myself...finally got a paying job.

And then there's that divide of, you know, as a young man, I was working on Capitol Hill at that time. Do you go out to happy hours and socialize or do you go to the gym? So there's that pull for me for a couple years.

And then kind of got settled down. I got to a place where I wanted to train more. I wanted to, you know, make more of a habit of it. And I think for me, it took me a while to kind of buy in into the community aspect of it, where I kind of viewed it, how I did college, where I'm just show up to the class. Do the class, do my work, be friendly, but nothing outside. College: I lived with my parents. I worked part-time, and I was a commuter student. So, you know, the social opportunities were very limited, and I kind of viewed jujitsu the same way.

But once I started buying in and developing friendships off the mat and really buying into the robust community we have at BETA, I think that also helped my progression on the mat. It made it much more enjoyable. I wasn't really thinking about the happy hours I was missing or cool receptions with certain celebrities I could have gone to.

It was more about like that, that growth on the mat...that progression. I wasn't as competitive when I finally got my purple belt.

Like it was, it was a sense of, "Okay, now this is fully incorporated into my life. And it's a healthy part of my life. It's not something that's kind of a penalty or something like that. Sometimes the blue belt felt like a burden, right? Because it's everyone knows the blue belt blues.

And you know, there are a couple of times I thought about quitting: "It's expensive. I'm not really going that much. If you divide the number of classes I went to that month and my tuition doesn't really make sense," But I'm very happy that I continued.

For me, it was just about that persistence.