Martial Artist: Confessions of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu White Belt

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when it hit me, but it could be around the moment my head hit the mat for the first time: I understood there was a long way to go before I began my journey as a martial artist.

I realized Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not a sport. It’s art. It’s therapy. It’s what you need after a hairy ass of a day to keep pushing, hustling, and breathing irrespective of what life throws your way.

Start by Submitting to Facts

In reality, you start by submitting to a choke or a lock, but honestly, the submission brings you face-to-face with admission. You start by admitting the inferiority in skill, technique, and heart. There’s no hiding from the honesty of the emotion, the veracity of weakness.

Endure the Pain

Be it skill, technique, or humility (pretty important from a humane perspective), you see the flaws, and they incessantly remind you after tapping or gassing out that the effort isn’t enough. Do it long enough, you start asking yourself why you’re enduring ass kickings every week, twice on Saturdays.

Then suddenly, like a bat outta hell, there comes a moment of clarity: not seeing failure as a loss but a golden opportunity to try again. After that, you grab the Gi and go to work. You find yourself in a space of sheer objectivity, without an ego.

Work, Work, and Rework

Because your coach won’t let you forget an absence and because you’re then in a position to learn without a bruised ego, you show up early at the club, analyze patterns, preempt manoeuvres, and respect everyone who teaches you, be it a good roll or a bad one. Getting that ego out of the equation becomes the best thing life has taught you in a while.

Moreover, you realize everybody you train with is on the same team; there’s no modicum of animosity. You acknowledge that you’re on the same side irrespective of how rowdy the rolls get.

You learn each other’s strengths and weakness; you’re in your partner’s corner yelling “posture up!” Before you know it, you even start looking pretty badass as a unit.

Adorn Some Battle Scars

There is the odd flailing limb or in my case, a kiss with the cage while saving my neck. However, when the unit starts getting tight, it barely matters.

Meet Amazing People Along the Way

I remember reading something along the lines of “you will always be a combined effort of all the people you roll with,” and this holds true. The mats, after they’re done testing you, are a meeting ground where knowledge and respect shake hands.

From being a work in progress, you become a novice, and you get to train with a brown belt. Pretty amazing for starters, given that your coach is dangerous with blue around his waist too.

Now Comes Developing as a Martial Artist

After all this transpires within the initial months, you begin to scratch the surface of respecting the art to become a martial artist. The journey has just begun, so respect the white around your waist. I’d say it’s the best belt to have.


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Rahul Chitrakar View All →

Discovering the nuances of life through the lens of fitness in its myriad expressions

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