I was reading the recent Cobrinha interview on Facebook (the full transcript appears on BJJ Asia) and the thing that made the most impact on me was when he talked about how he used to be a baker and still enjoys it – but doesn’t get much time for life outside BJJ, as one may imagine.
I don’t know how common this sentiment is, but something that sometimes pops up in my head is a feeling along the lines of:
“Oh man, if I had been training BJJ since I was a kid, I would be really good now.”
Maybe now and then it would be more like:
“Wow, if I hadn’t spent all that time playing Warcraft / at the office / doing nothing / reading comics (I do not, in fact, regret that last one), and just put all that energy into Jiu-Jitsu, I could be so much better now.”
Very rarely, this comes in the form of something like:
“I wish I had a BJJ group around me when I was younger, like the Gracies had – being so fully immersed in Jiu-Jitsu from childhood would have been awesome!”
I can’t be the only one to have felt things like this. I think it’s not uncommon to look at a Rickson, or a Roger, or whoever, and wonder what I could be like with the same kind of background. Honestly, who wouldn’t want that kind of amazing skill and insight into the game – and to still be whatever age you are?
I say it’s perfectly normal to look at a mind-numbing, soul-crushing office job and wish you could just throw it all away and go do BJJ every day. Jiu-Jitsu 3 times a day, 7 days a week, would sure sound appealing when faced with a backed-up inbox and a 12-hour day of conference calls and client meetings.
For me, it’s understandable to wish you had the kind of support for Jiu-Jitsu that kids in Brazil seem to enjoy so much. Wouldn’t it be so cool to have a group of enthusiastic guys to push me in all things BJJ, to have that brotherhood and community to challenge and encourage me?
Upon reflection I think the important thing to remember is that people like Roger, Saulo and all the other amazing BJJ players I could name are who they are – and still have the desire and motivation to train BJJ – because they each lived a life that not everyone was meant to have.
If we are shaped by our experiences, then how can anyone say they would be who they are now if they lived a vastly different life? Would I really be so in love with Jiu-Jitsu if I had to be around it every day from since I was a toddler? And what about my relationships with friends and family, how would they be different if my whole life was all about training?
The more I think about it, the more I’m really thankful for my experiences, and where they’ve brought me in my life. I’m thankful for the ability to just buy a bunch of DVDs and benefit from the experiences and sacrifices of a Cobrinha, a Saulo, a Galvao, or what have you. I’m thankful I get to train Jiu-Jitsu, compete in Jiu-Jitsu, and travel and make friends from all around the world, because I choose to.