WAZE to your Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt

In my 8years of training, I have seen many practitioners come and go, and come back again. Some never returned to the mats. I’ve seen many good jiu-jitsu students just stop training. People who I looked forward to training with, because I knew the training session would provide valuable teaching moments. Whether it was technique-based, keeping up with his/her cardio level or just adjusting to the intensity the person brought, I could always count on a good roll. However, most of those individuals have moved on and away from the dojo. Countless times, I’ve asked, how is it that some reach their black belts while many others neverdo?

How you get introduce to Jiu-Jitsu plays an important part in your longevity

You first heard of the art through a friend, read about it in a magazine, saw a YouTube video or watched UFC and said to yourself, I want to tap people out like that! So you go to a local gym. You take private classes; adjust your diet; workout with on off days. You begin to wear the latest jiu-jitsu shirts and start buying acai bowls! Then, suddenly, your Instagram posts changed from #jiujitsulife to #yolo tagging everyone you’re with at Buffalo Wild Wings. Your dream of becoming a jiu-jitsu submission machine has fallen to the wayside.

What about the person who enters a dojo to just get back in shape. This person trains consistent, develops healthy habits and shreds pounds off within months! Great! Then, that person is gone too. So you look him/her up on Facebook to make sure he is ok. You find very quickly that he/she is actually in the best place ever! “I love my new job!” is what is captioned in latest post.

What about the young student, eager who kicks butt every session, trains on and off the mat, competes at every tournament and takes all loses like a learning experience. Every opportunity they have to roll with a higher belt, they accept and make every attempt learn and become better. They move up from white belt to purple belt rather quickly only to cease at the purple belt level. No one really hears from this person and as a result, rumors spread. He went creonte, He does karate now, but in reality could just not afford the monthly fees.

Keep in mind that this is your introduction, a starting point, the beginning into your jiujitsu journey. Ask yourself what  jiu-jitsu can do for you and what is it you would like to gain from it, (Is it me or does that remind anyone else of JFK’s speech?)

Make Jiu-Jitsu a part of your life

We would all love to train jiu-jitsu every day, compete as much as we can, travel all over the world, but reality is that we all live different lives that involve kids, college, work, bills, health injuries etc. Additionally, our motivation and energy is also impacted by everything we do outside of jiu-jitsu. So how do you continuously find a way to re-energize your inner self? If Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” Instagram is not enough, then consider a personal map of your jiu-jiu-jitsu journey.

WAZE your journey

It is important to map out your journey. If you know you want to go to college in a few months, want to have a baby, join the military or all of the above, that’s are  ok. Just make sure you add additional years to each belt promotion. Make Jiu-Jitsu “a part of your life”  and understand that your return is as great as your investment.  We are all complicated human beings with responsibilities that go beyond the mats.

Reflect on your WAZE map and adjust your training schedule. This will most likely happen during promotion ceremonies. You find that most of the people you started training with got promoted and all you received was another stripe on your belt.

 Give yourself a little break from training, but always maintain contact with your dojo. Your dojo will be the leverage that pulls you back soon enough.

Know your dojo’s culture. Get to know the higher belts as they will provide you with good advice or, in worst cases, use you as a test dummy for the latest YouTube jiu-jitsu technique. These are important things to consider if you want to remain in the art.

If you accept values that align with yours, it makes minor setbacks much easier to accept and return with support from your team. Otherwise, you create a very frustrating re-introduction to your academy, and most likely having to fight off your old and new sparring partners.

Move past “Jiu-Jitsu Block” (similar to writers block) by blocking out time in your annual calendar to enjoy the art. Focus on technique, get caught in submissions and try working out of them, increase your cardio training, whatever it is, don’t take a bad  set of rolls as a reflection of your jiu-jitsu. It’s ok, I’m sure you’re bad roll will not be recorded and go viral as “that guy” who got his ass handed.

Remember to always recognize your achievements, make jiu-jitsu a part of “your life”, focus on your belts but within the context of “your” journey.

Article By: Santiago “Santi” Zepeda 





Leave a Reply

Translate »