Six months into BJJ: My Experience

BJJ is an outlet that allows me to accept and work through my perfectionism. To a non-BJJ practitioner, an arm bar may seem like well, just an arm bar. However, to get a good arm bar from mount for example, you need to pay attention to small details and missing out these seemingly insignificant but crucial steps could cost you that good position. First, use your fingers to crawl along the mat such that your opponent’s arms are sprawled upwards. Then, use your fist to dig deep into his collar. Twist your hand so the opponent has no choice but to use his arm to defend the pressure. Use your hand to tuck in his elbow into your stomach. Scoot your knee around his shoulder, make sure you aren’t leaving gaps between yourself and the opponent. Get to S-mount. Go for the arm bar. Remember to pinch your knees, feet on the ground and squeeze the opponent tightly.

Being perfectionistic, I pay great attention to detail and try my best to remember every single step. At times, I do feel upset with myself when I don’t do something right. However, I remind myself that it’s alright to make mistakes and it’s never about getting it right on the first try. Learning BJJ is all about persistence, patience, being detailed and improvements take baby steps. It also helps that my professor reminds us how it is alright to not get it right today, because there is always a tomorrow for us to work on it again. I’m growing to enjoy the learning process and mistakes I make along the way instead of aiming for perfection. Learning how to manage perfection is definitely an aspect I aim to work on personally. Throughout these past few months, I am learning to compare myself against my own progress. Having spent six years in a competitive school environment, I was predisposed to an extremely competitive mindset and constantly pitched myself against others. In BJJ, everyone progresses at different rates and that is okay. It is alright to be slower than others and I am finally becoming comfortable with accepting my improvements, no matter how marginal, as my own small successes. 

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I like seeing how there are parallels between our journey in life and BJJ. When sparring, everyone makes mistakes at one point or another, and gets into disadvantageous positions. Our response when caught in a bad position such as losing guard for example is crucial and almost pivotal. Getting into a bad circumstance does not determine what happens next, but our response does. Sparring is very much dependent on the opponent’s reaction, but more importantly how we choose to optimize the opportunity presented. Similarly, when bad things happen in life, it is all the more how we choose to respond and what we learn from the situation that alters the direction we are headed. 

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I also found a very welcoming and warm family here at Trifecta, and it makes me extremely happy to be able to train with people who are genuinely caring and always willing to help me improve my skills. Learning BJJ has made me a lot happier because I finally found something I truly love doing. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to do something I love without having to achieve anything in order to prove myself. I get to define what success and happiness means to me, and that in itself is empowering. 

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