One of the primary rules of the bjj life is that if you are at all serious about the crazy, messed-up sport, you must train hurt. Because of the extremely physical, at times violent live-sparring component of jiu jitsu, the chances are that everyone will get at least a few bumps and bruises along the way. For an Ewok-sized dude who is less than two years away from AARP membership, the question is WHAT is hurting now, not when will something happen. This time, it is again the lower back/hip that is speaking to me with her evil twinges of pain, combined with the ever-pulsating spasms of more pain. I’m a good soldier, I continue to drag myself up the stairs into the gym and do my best.
If you do this enough, you will recognize the difference between an injury, and mere discomfort. Listen to your body, and do what it allows. Since my ailments are likely the result of periodic arthritic flair-ups, I just keep on grinding, just with more limitation to my mobility than usual. Who cares if I can’t bridge or shrimp much, the solution is to “just” try harder to pass my opponent’s guard more effectively and not end up on my back. Easier said than done. I suppose this is the moral of the story for training hurt, work on the stuff that you CAN do. Perhaps this will force you to drill techniques that aren’t natural to you, which will hopefully pay dividends down the road.
Since I couldn’t bridge or shrimp much, I was forced to really try hard to avoid sweeps as I attempted to pass guard. A sweep means I’m flat on my back, and I really didn’t want to be there. Again, this is all good in principle — reality is a different thing. I do my old fashioned Toriando pass, getting heaving on the legs as I go by. Unfortunately, my version of “heavy” isn’t heavy enough and my opponents feet often snag mine and I’m sent flying with a butterfly sweep or some such magic. I go flying through the air to land painfully on my back. I’ll start drinking more milkshakes! Maybe that’ll make me heavier. Though my week of pain was largely unsuccessful, I started to feel that I was at times able to increase my distance as I went around an opponent’s legs and secure some form of side control. There you have it, the fear of a painful flight forced me to work on something that needed to be drilled. Training hurt served it’s purpose.
Competing hurt is a totally different animal. I was supposed to enter the Good Fight tournament in Philadelphia this coming weekend but I think I will pull a sissy and not do it. I just don’t feel comfortable going into “battle” without the ability to bridge or shrimp as I normally do. Under the best circumstances I usually go into these tournaments much older and lighter than my opponents and get destroyed. Imagine how glorious the defeat would be if I did this with a hinky back? I will bow out of the tournament, but continue to train and give white belts throughout South-Central Pennsylvania a burst of confidence.