Where we’ve come from; where we go
The other day I made a little BJJ faux pas and left my belt at the gym. I like to get in some extra training at affiliate schools when I can and that particular day I was in a hurry to get home and relieve the babysitter. After eight years of BJJ I think I’ve forgotten my belt maybe twice.
Never with consequences.
This time, I was treated to stripes on my belt. Four pink stripes. And a video filled with chuckling as the stripes were put on as well as an explanation that it takes 200 hours to take off each pink stripe and another 200 hours to put on each white stripe.
So…1600 more mat hours until black belt.
It was a joke, but I accepted the challenge with a smile. I went back, got my belt and rolled with the pink stripes. I wore them with *ahem* pride, as it were. I was a little sad to see the professor take the stripes off, I rather enjoyed my new flare, but it got me thinking more about the idea.
It’s not a set in stone rule by any means, but figure about 200 hours per stripe on a brown belt. I train about 400 hours a year, maybe more, but 400 is about right. That would mean with no stripes, 4 more years to black belt.
It didn’t bother me.
It wasn’t where I was going that I thought about, it was where I have been.
Since I first stepped on the mat, my life is completely different. In fact, if I were to read about that person’s day-to-day life I would think it was just really boring fiction. I was in a go-nowhere job I only went to because I needed some sort of income. I was newly married, no kids, no dog, still renting an apartment and slowly working my way through graduate school.
And I was bored.
And I was frustrated.
I feel sorry for that person. If I could, I would go back and tell him that it gets better, but it starts with you. You need the motivation to take the extra step, find the joy in life. Money…well, you still won’t have any money, but you will be happy.
BJJ makes me happy. The art makes me happy. The people make me happy. It’s the only thing besides my family that I will fight for to keep in my life.
It makes me wonder, if I ran into the me who exists 8 years from now, what will he say. If I had to guess, I think he’d say “you made the right choice.”
See you on the mats.