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You vs you

You vs you

The great Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying “Comparison is the thief of all joy” and boy was he correct.

In todays social media heavy landscape, it’s exceptionally easy to compare our dull lives with the exciting lives of those on social media living the high life with all their successes on show.

Reminding us of what we don’t have and making us feel lesser for it.

Our training and study is the same. We can see all these amazing martial artists on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and feel like the gap between us and others is so wide that there just isn’t any point.

“If I can’t be as good as Gordon Ryan then why bother?”

Instead of allowing the best in the world to inspire, we can sometimes allow it to intimidate and then suppress us. We can feel so inferior that it becomes a pointless task to try to improve as we feel it would be impossible to achieve any level of note.

I’ve seen it happen many times in gyms.

The comparing of a team mates skill set to their own and always feeling like they are coming up short, unable to compete and left wanting.

But with common sense we understand that all abilities are different.

Becoming good in martial arts, especially jiu jitsu, is a long time study and also one that can be helped or hindered by many factors.

Age, time spent training, athleticism, injuries, weight.

These are just a few variables off the top of my head that can impact training outcomes and success.

A 25 year old, 90 kg Rugby player is much more likely to have success in being harder to wrestle in their first year training than a 45 year old 60kg man who has been inactive for the majority of his life.

But this doesn’t mean that jiu jitsu isn’t for either man. They can both enjoy the process of study and learning the art. They can both garner the benefits offered from the martial art. The fitness, the strength, the calm mind, the adversity, the camaraderie.

What ever goals they set to themselves can be achieved irrelevant of each other.

The beauty of arts like BJJ is that we are able to put in to practice what we have learned. That is what makes it exciting and constantly provides new ways to enjoy.

The learning of a new technique or principle and then the opportunity to implement it in to your arsenal.

But how does this correlate with the comparison quote?

With the sport being quite heavily sparring  and reality based, we can, like I said at the start, become a little too concerned with others progress in comparison with our own. How many times we are being submitted or dominated or unable to perform certain techniques can really have negative outcomes but most of the time, when this happens we are unrealistic with our comparisons.

As I said, the 45 year old can’t and shouldn’t expect to handle the 25 year old athletic partner handily when skill levels are similar or even less when athletic ability is involved too.

What he should be looking at is his improvement against him self.

The man who started training six Months ago should be a hugely different man now.

Physical attributes will have began to change.

His technical Proficiency, though far from an expert, would be night and day in difference. His physicality would have began to alter, gaining muscle and becoming physically stronger. His mindset would be much more resilient and his ability to push harder through adversity would be levers above his original standing.

If he were to magically be able to compete on the mat with his former self, from six months previous, it wouldn’t be much of a match.

He would be able to cause his old self a whole world of discomfort. But we dont see it when we live it. But our only opponent is ourselves.

Are you better than you were last week?

Last month.

Last year.

If not, why not?

Constantly concerning yourself with others journeys is just taking the focus away from all you have achieved and also that you can aim to achieve too.

Keep your focus on your improvements over yourself.

And enjoy the journey.



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