As I posted the other day, I spent Saturday with Scott Devine and his instructors and students at the annual summer gathering. While thinking further about my experiences, I remembered another theme of the day that I neglected to mention in the previous post. Now I am glad I did because I think it merits a post of it's own. The issue is the all important role that our significant others play when it comes to our jiu jitsu journeys. Whether you have parents, spouses, partners, or children who support your commitment and dedication to the grappling arts, you need to pause to express your gratitude and appreciation for their support from time to time.
If you're anything like me (and hopefully for you, you're not!), you might be a tad obsessive when it comes to learning, teaching, and practicing grappling. Even when I am not training--which is time consuming in itself and takes you away from the ones you love--I am thinking about training, watching videos, posting on this blog, etc. Moreover, our loved ones have to deal with the invetibale disappointments, frustrations, set backs, and injuries we all endure as we try to make our way from white belt to black belt. While jiu jitsu is called the gentle art, it can take a toll on one's body and mind--especially the more time and energy one dedicates to the sport.
For some, like me, jiu jitsu is as much a lifestyle as it is a sport or martial art. It's something that is reflected in the clothes I wear, the company I keep, and the way I spend my time. Luckily, I have an amazing wife who tolerates my commitment to submission grappling with aplomb. I couldn't be any luckier or more thankful. She supports my commitment and dedication while enduring all of the bitching and moaning I do along the way--whether I am grumbling about an injury, a bad day on the mats, or even gym politics. She appreciates the value that training adds to my life and the benefits (both physical and psychological) I reap as a student of the art. Without her understanding and support, I wouldn't be able to chase my passions and my dreams when it comes to endlessly pursuing the "pure joy of the roll" (to quote Scott Devine).
While Scott is surely right that the "roll is its own reward," it's a reward we would have to receive alone if we didn't have people in our lives who support and understand (or at least Stoicly tolerate) the time we spend away from them while pursuing the rewards we seek. So, I, for one, am very thankful for my "other," my wife, and my co-conspirator in life. While she may not understand why I love jiu jitsu as much as I do--hell, I am not sure I understand it myself--she nevertheless accepts me for the addict I am. For that, I couldn't be any more thankful.
So, this post is for Daniela and all of the others out there who make our journey in jiu jitsu possible. Without them, none of this would be worth it in the first place. As such, don't forget to thank your significant others from time to time. For they are ultimately far more important than the martial art we love. They are the ones who reconnect us back to the civilized world when we're done trying to strangle one another for fun. They are the ones we go home to to lick our wounds or celebrate our progress. They are the ones who love us despite our love for the roll.