After a week-and-a-half hiatus from the mats, I'm back to practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It amazes me how a new practice can become so integral to my routine that being away for a short period of time is enough to get me down. But that affirms how beneficial BJJ is.
It felt great to be back at the Sunday morning white belt fundamentals class. The lesson was a good reinforcement on lapel chokes. I rolled three or four times, once with a brown belt and once with a blue belt. I had no answers for what they were throwing at me, and did my best to avoid situations that would result in me having to tap out.
But I was able to surprise a few of the higher-ranking white belts. Inevitably, though, I'd overextend myself, make a mistake, and get caught in some kind of submission. Tap. Repeat. Just like the sparring sessions with the higher ranks.
Later in the day, I was at home nursing my wounds when I came across the passage at the top of the post. It brought me back to earth. I've taken the first few steps of what will be a long journey. Reaching for submissions, overextending myself and making mistakes amount to trying to sprint before I can crawl.
There's also something liberating about being "an empty vessel," as Ribeiro says. It takes ego out of the equation. He writes, "Practice jiu-jitsu with a childlike mind. Have you ever considered why children have such an accelerated learning curve? Part of the reason is that they are more concerned with enjoyment than ego. Try to envelop yourself in a child's naivety."