So when I wake up feeling like I’m 80 years old each morning with my shoulders popping in out and out of place and my neck aching so badly I can’t turn my head more than 45 degrees towards any direction, I can’t help but wonder if I’m simply “not built for this sport.” I come to find this is a typical feeling for men and women, alike. And then of course there’s Helio Gracie who trained BJJ until just 10 days before he died at 95 years old. WHAT?

But after about 2 years of training, I have to ask, is this wrong? Is it even sustainable for me? Will I regret this one day?… I wish I could answer these questions.

I’m very conscious of the fact that I have issues with “going too hard” on a normal training day. Remember those BJJ guy stereotypes that were floating around the internet a while back? I’m the “Let’s go light” person where they claim they will take it easy, but they end up at full speed after just a number of seconds. It’s obnoxious for me and for others, I’m sure. It seems like it’s in my nature to do this. Like, for instance, there are some people who subconsciously gravitate towards driving under or around speed limit… and then there are those of us who break speeding laws by at least 15 miles per hour on a highway if we, by chance, get lost in thought and don’t pay any attention what-so-ever to our speedometers (this happens to me all too often).

It takes keeping conscious of my pace to stay at a “healthy” level as to prevent injury. And I have no one to blame for this but myself, usually. People will feed to me the same energy that I feed to them, so if the person happens to be much larger than me, it gets dangerous. And I will say, I’m not a completely out of control, blood-lusting monster when I roll either…

So really, what I’m talking about is total concentration on movement and the “flow mode” that I try getting into (along with everyone else) when I roll– my real issue lies in the fact that this mode doesn’t allow me to focus on external concerns that are responsible for controlling my pace, especially a blue belt as I’m just recently exposed to most of the moves I know (and I really have no idea if this self-awareness skill gets any easier with each belt level).

Ok, so this “flow mode” sensation is great! It’s awesome! I forget my problems and anxieties– I forget about my job, and any love-life stresses… I even forget my ego (sometimes… or at least until someone taps). This is that good shit! It’s the stuff people want out of their yoga meditation, their “born again” Jesus revelation, or their 26.2 mile marathon run… their artistic expression.

I assume that maintaining a good balance between concentration of movement and concentration of aggression is a learnt skill– one in which I plan to actively seek out if I want to make my training a sustainable thing. Perhaps it will mean knowing the movements at a mechanical level or well enough to keep a quicker pace than my rolling partner. Or maybe it’s simply an ego problem within the core of my personality and my longing to “win,” or at least “not lose.”

I don’t think I could get any closer to the blue belt stereo-type…