Over the years I have quit or stopped training BJJ quite a few times. Nearly all of my training partners who started with me have earned the level of black belt at this point. I’m happy for them but it makes me feel like I was left behind. I often wish I stuck to it with them.
The times I’ve stopped it’s usually due to an injury. The very first time I needed a break was from a nasty neck injury. I got my first promotion then to my white belt with a blue stripe, but needed time off to heal. When I came back after that break is when Professor Jucao took that belt from me. You can read more about that here.
More recently I was dealing with a torn labrum and now I have added back and neck problems for good measure. I’ve been feeling really frustrated because these are life altering injuries. They affect my everyday living and they are permanent. That is unless I take a chance with surgery.
For instance, these days my shoulder always hurts and I just live with the pain. They put surgery on the table but made zero guarantees that they could actually fix the issue and not end up making my shoulder worse. In fact, they can’t even guarantee that this surgery is the right one for this issue. Yeah, so surgery is out and I just live with that perpetual pain. The same end result applies to my neck and again, I’ve opted not to have surgery.
I’ve been feeling really upset that I can’t keep training Brazilian Jujitsu 4 days a week like I was doing. I was well on the path to my Gracie Combatives belt. I would have met the requirements to test in about three more months at that pace. I was flying through the stripes and the curriculum. Then my neck got tweaked pretty badly and I needed some time off.
I’m avoiding all neck attack days in order to protect myself from getting badly injured. Last week I went in only one day because the rest of the week was guillotine and headlock training.
Honestly, I felt like quitting again because I was so upset about it. I’ve managed to stick with it, but the negative self talk in my head has been pretty bad. It’s self sabotage and I recognize it for what it is. You want to quit, so you try to find a way to make it about the program or something other than what it really is. Oddly enough, it was my wife who talked me into not quitting at my lowest point. I was very close to cancelling my membership.
“Why am I doing this to myself? I should be a black belt by now! Why am I wasting my time with a combatives belt that most places don’t even recognize? I’m beyond this and this is not worth it, I’m just wasting my time and my hard earned money. I should quit this damn program.”
And on and on the negative self talk went. I mentioned it to my wife and she said, “Honey, don’t quit. You are going to regret it like you always do and you’ll end up starting over again in the future. Just keep going, even if you only go once a week and it takes you much longer to get there, don’t quit. You will regret it.”
She’s right. I was angry because I went from four days a week every week to one or two days a week. This delay towards my goals irritated me and made me want to walk away altogether. Remember, I’m an all or nothing type of person. If I can’t go in one hundred percent then I don’t want anything to do with it. This whole balance thing is very hard for me, but I’m trying. I didn’t quit.
So these past few weeks I have been mixing it up. I’ve been taking yoga, teaching zumba, lifting weights, doing cardio and still attending bjj. I’m trying to accept that I must slow down in order to continue moving forward. It sucks because my mind and heart are very much willing to go in all the way, but my neck is just not there.
I am struggling here, not just with this, but my fitness goals over all. But I just have to keep reminding myself that there is no rush. Take your time and just keep moving forward.
Just a life long New Yorker sharing the journey through my lens. Please take note of a post’s date. The views I express here are subject to change and evolving as I grow and learn.