Me freaking out before jitz today, the truth behind the photo
As much as my life involves stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing past the limits, it takes me a lot of mental energy to even get to a place where I can do that. Even rocking up to a group class at a gym I’ve been going too for the last year and a half still leaves me in next level panic mode.
I used to lowkey have an anxiety attack before each training session because I couldn’t wrap my hands, now it’s part of my calm down before training ritual
When I started doing Brazilian jiujitsu, my anxiety would go through the roof with these classes. My weight, the lack of personal space, trusting beginners with body, my trust with other people’s bodies, my ability to keep up with the fitness….everything! The fact I could not even do a forward roll didn’t help things. It was not a fun time, so once I was told I had to go up to the next class with all the “scary” guys who were on another level, I freaked out and decided that maybe BJJ was not for me.
Fast forward to this year. I decide that I need to go back to BJJ as well as do some more technique classes in boxing and muay thai, to really sharpen my skills. I want to be the best fighter I can be. Nervous as, I go back to the intro to BJJ class at a different time with a different teacher. I LOVE my old teacher, she was an absolute legend and made me feel so comfortable, but her time slot didn’t work for me. After much self talk and deep breathing, I made my way into class and met my great teacher Oliver.
Find a badass support system, and give back by supporting them too.
Now, I’m one of these people who tend to stick to training and partnering with the people I trust. Another reason I quit BJJ originally was my rolling partner injured her shoulder, so I didn’t have that person I felt comfortable with. I didn’t exactly feel comfortable with the person I was partnered with for my first class back, but early days yeah? The following week was interesting. There was a woman doing her first lesson and I ended up partnering with her. We had a great time, learning and applying the techniques. She ended up signing up to the gym, and in her conversation with Rich, our gym receptionist, she told him that she was so thankful she got to partner with me, because I made her feel comfortable. What? Here was me thinking that it was great to partner with her because I trusted her pretty quickly, and she felt the same about me.
That night I also attended the introduction to boxing class. While I’ve been training with a brilliant striker, it doesn’t hurt to learn some boxing technique and get everything really tidy. This was the second week I was doing this class and the woman I had partnered with the week before was also back to do the class. When she saw me, her reaction took me by surprise. She said something along the lines of, “Thank god you are here! I was hoping you would be! It was so good to partner with you last week, you made me feel so comfortable!’
This is when I realised that I had become the person that I wanted when I first started training. After discussing with some other women in my BJJ class today, we all came to the same conclusion that we were thankful to train with people who wanted to help us learn, protected each other and really focused on learning. Supporters and students of the craft where no egos were necessary. We also became women supporting women. The changes I had made in myself made me seek out those women that need a little help to feel comfortable in the class, and support them starting their martial arts journeys. Now these women hopefully will do the same for new students that they come across.
Don’t take it so seriously, we are all on this planet to learn and help each other!
When it comes to being a student; we all have to start somewhere. The old saying in BJJ is “a black belt is a white belt that never gave up.” Whether it’s martial arts, a gym class, a university course or any environment where you feel uncomfortable, remember that most people most likely feel the same. We are all students of life, and the more we let ourselves be empathetic of each other, the more we try to become the people we needed in a difficult time, the easier life will be to get through.