Saturday, March 07, 2015

Two Schools

Spent 3 hours last night at the gym learning from this Authentic Brazilian BJJ Guy named Megaton. =>
Yes, there's a lot of testosterone in this sport.

As a beginner, I didn't grasp much of his seminar, and it was probably more relevant to people who compete, but it was still kind of cool to hear the perspective of someone famous.  And there were some belt promotions afterward - a special thing in BJJ, where there are only 3 belts between white and black.  New belts take years to earn, not months, and there's no test for belts, just loads of live training, experimentation, learning what works and what doesn't by testing it with a resisting opponent. It takes about 10 years to get to black.

This morning, I got up and headed to a different kind of belt promotion - our dojang's quarterly color belt test.  In JSD, color belt students can test for a belt or a stripe every 3 months and there are 4 belts between white and black.  A person who doesn't skip any tests has a black belt in roughly 3 years.  (I took 4).  Belt tests can be really hard. Or not so hard.  It really all depends on how much you prepare for them and how much effort you put forth for those two hours.  The fact that the resulting belt is the same can create some confusion. On the other hand, it's up to the individual how much or how little he or she will get out of the experience.  Not everyone is there for the same reasons or is capable of the same level of commitment.  Finding the balance between accessibility and standards is, I'm sure, a struggle when running a school like ours.

This is something that has been on my mind now that the possibility of my own test is 3 months away.  I'm already in good physical shape and I already know my material pretty well.  I could just show up and probably do just fine.  Many people do.  Or I could work my ass off for the next 3 months to prepare for it the way I prepared for my 1st dan test. I'll look somewhat better and I'll feel better if I really nail it, but either way, I'll wear the same belt, and I won't feel like I've let anyone down. 

After the test, I lunched with The Master, his family, some of the other black belts, and some of the testing students, which is a nice tradition.  Had a long talk with my female mentor after, which is always a good thing. She understands these conflicts and can usually get my focus back on the important things.

And then I was back to BJJ, where I did a few hours of women's-only training / open mat.  I brought my Judo / Cardio partner, and she liked it very much as well. There was sushi afterward with my new training buddies, who are an impressive bunch of women. I'll be there again tomorrow for an hour of Judo and 90 minutes of open mat BJJ. 

Cross-training is starting to definitely shake things up for me.  It's moving me waaaaayyyy out of my comfort zone, putting me back in the role of beginner / white belt, and leading me to examine the pros and cons of two very different styles of training, two different definitions of success.

No comments: