Training in BJJ is hard and tough. Progress can be slow at times and your confidence easily lost. Up one minute and down the next. Sometimes its one good session and one bad but sometimes slumps last a month or two or even more. There are always cross roads to test your commitment, things like, tournaments, gradings, injuries, work and family commitments.
Every training session is about struggle and knowing that makes getting in the car to get to training even harder. Every session you miss the further you fall behind those who are training regularly. Every week that passes your mat fitness drops. Even more struggle to get back. Compared to most other types of martial arts training you wonder why we bother at all, learn some dead patterns every 3 months and get another coloured belt for your trouble. Plus you get to train with someone who knows exactly what you are going to do and doesnt resist at all. Your magic works every time.
But BJJ is different. You proof your technique, timing and willpower every class. Just when you think you have an escape, submission or position solid it slips away. Evolution is a bitch. Real training hurts. I have always compared actual training to pushing a broken down car uphill, you are either making slow and painful progress or sliding backwards. Personally, in the last twelve months I began to question whether I was making progress at all or at very slow rate at the most. I am told this is not uncommon for a purple belt. Only now in the last few weeks can I see the fruits of my labours. Things are starting to fall into place again. During this prolonged slump I thought to myself just get time on the mat, every week consistently. No excuses. The best way is not around but through. There were times there that my confidence was very low. So to now see guys going through the 3 month drop out phase, getting frustrated, or gearing up to be blue belts, or being blue and realising how big the jump to purple actually is kinda makes me reflect on my own journey so far. Because when I finally got to purple I realised only then how much more work needed to be done. I am grateful for a great training partner who keeps me honest and that now again, at least for a short time, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. A black belt is just a white belt who never stopped training.