Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kit Dale: Waxes Poetic About BJJ and Losing the Spirit/The Art of Learning

Click HERE.

Burnout is a real phenomenon.
Realizing you just because you were world class at blue, purple, or whatever then then the jump to black belt is also a real phenomenon.

"I believe if you took every final at the World Championships and let the two competitors compete till submission 10 times in a row, the outcome would possibly be far different from the original match.. Since it isn’t geared that way it’s set up to suit the specialist rather than the strategist of today’s jiu jitsu..
Competition is now geared more towards the athletes.. Not that this is a bad thing..
It’s just the evolution of it.."

It's hard to tell where this borders on subtle excuse-making for recent high profile losses and/or frustrations and how much is just him thinking his unaltered, unedited thoughts.

I'd imagine both to be honest. If you're primed to expect external reward from Jiu-Jitsu by winning and winning and not losing often, then you have a length of time without reward, it can be very tough to continue to invest and invest in something not returning any sort of benefit to you.

I've yet to win a purple belt featherweight division/take 1st place.
It's been over a year at purple belt and I've legitimately trained considerably more consistent and harder than ever before but that has simply not been enough. I've competed more times at purple belt than I did my entire time at white and blue belt.
I've taken 2nd a ton of times and I've had days where I didn't win a single match. I don't even see tournaments as anything other than another day of training now. The grind is endless.
I recently fought my way to the 3rd place match in the absolute division. I lost but it's the furthest I've made it in the bracket thus far and that was coming off of being very sick the preceding two weeks.
"Winning" comes in many forms and when you've not getting the "win" that you expect, you'll have to invent ways to find motivation and reward when your desires wanes or seems to dim.

I'm undeterred for the most part because this was my pattern at blue belt. It wasn't until I returned from ACL surgery, and competed my last 6 months or so at blue belt that I won my weight class and won an absolute division.
I've read the art of learning, I've accepted as my own personal narrative that I am an incremental learning. I recall Keenan talking about his time at purple belt and how he spent the bulk of it not having won anything of note until he turned the corner. Until something clicked where he was so frustrated he didn't even care if he lost but rather just decided to fight every second of each match until the end.
That semi-letting go of outcome expectation was likely a catalyst for better performance.
What do I know?
A black belt I know who competes all the time told me purple was the toughest belt for him. He thought the competition end of it really begins to separate the recreational vs the semi and in fact professional level people.

I've already begun to see the widening gap at purple belt between recreational vs semi-pro competitors. There are guys at purple belt I've beaten easier than any blue belt match I had.
There are guys at purple belt that it's a game of chicken: the guy who makes the first mistake loses.

It's been an interesting ride my first year and 3 months or so at purple belt.

The grind continues.

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