So now that you all know vaguely of who I am, its time to get to business. If you are a teenager who is serious about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you will fully understand what I am about to tell you; if you are a parent, you should really try to.
First off I am going to start with the big one – having the time to train. I have heard from so many individuals that, “oh I wish I was your age so I could train whenever I wanted”. The reason many of you can’t train is because Jiu Jitsu is not a top priority; which is fine, but I don’t want to hear about how you can never train, that it’s always so easy for me to train, if you were my age it would be so easy, etc. It is a common misconception that every teen can train whenever they want and however long they want. The truth is , contrary to popular belief, we have some responsibilities too like school, jobs, demands of family, friends and in many cases (although never mine) a girlfriend. I know that may not measure up to the responsibilities of many or most adults, but they can be significant. On the other hand, we don’t have the freedom, privileges, and benefits that come with being an adult either.
Obviously if you are married and have kids, you should care more about them than any sport. Not to sound too harsh about it, but that was a choice you made. You get some great benefits from that choice, but you have to trade some freedom for those benefits. Just don’t be angry with me about it. Speaking of choices, I choose not to party, I choose (I use “choose” loosely) not to have a girlfriend, and I choose to neglect other responsibilities; is it the smartest decision? Maybe not. Is it my decision? Yes, and I will be the one to deal with any consequences.
Unlike an adult, there are certain times when I do not have the power to choose. As my mom has made a point to remind me, teenagers in America I have to obey the demands of their legal guardians; which means when my mom says I can not train, then I do not have a choice. If I choose to ignore her, she has the option to, and certainly will, involve the police. And, for some reason, my mom never lets me train. I guess she knows that it is the one thing that I really care about. In her eyes, that makes it the most effective punishment, but I’m too hard headed for that to work.
For the past year I have not asked to go to one high school party, I barely have hung out with any of my high school friends, all I wanted to do was do Jiu Jitsu. Also for the past year my grades haven’t been the greatest, and even though training every night or not training at all does not have an effect on whether my grades are high or low; my mom seems to feel like she is handling the situation by limiting the days that I can train. Knowing that the sport has pretty much saved my life has no effect on her decision to let me train, so I train when I can which is only three days a week. Bleh, makes me sick thinking about it. So when you tell me how great i’ve got it and that your wife won’t let you train one night and I just laugh, it’s because you aren’t the one that’s legally bound not to train. Yeah, your wife might make you sleep on the couch, but my mom will call the cops and let me sleep in a cell (and i’m not exaggerating here).
Note: If you have a family to take care of, please do not take this post as an insult. I commend you for taking care of your business. If you still train seriously while having a family, I commend you for doing so also (and yes it is possible, I have a couple teammates that do it). My point is that everything isn’t so easy in the life of a teen, there are reasons that we can not train, and there are serious things we have to sacrifice to be able to train.
From the younger single guys, I hear the excuse, “I have a girlfriend and she won’t let me train”. Honestly, I don’t care, dump her, go buy a bottle of Jergens, and find a girl who will let you train. I’ve lived without a girlfiend for 17 years and expect to continue this trend. If your girlfriend really loves you, she will support you in what you really want to do.
Another thing many teens will understand but many of you “others” won’t. Transportation. As a 16 year old who didn’t have his licence and relied on his mom (who isn’t the most supportive in the first place) to give him rides, its hard to train as much as you would like to. When I realized that training meant so much to me that nothing would stop me, I decided to finally listen to my instructor Dave Trader and start riding my bike to the gym.
So I pitched the idea to my mom that I would ride my bike to the gym after school and that she could just pick me up at night so it would be easier on her. She said it was cool as long as I wore a helmet (I looked pretty bad ass with my huffy helmet, but I was safe). The gym was ten miles from my house so it was way too long to bike the whole way – especially at 260 lbs. So I would catch the bus about a half mile from my house and take the bike onto the bus, then get dropped off about 2 miles from the gym. Then came the hard part, the menacing ride down route 234 to get to the gym. I can recall busting open my toe while crashing my bike in the middle of the road as a trucker laughed and pointed at me to his passenger. I can also recall the back of my bike wheel being hit by some idiot trying to beat a red light. But…..if I could go back and do it all over again I would do the same thing – training every day took my game to new levels.
There are so many more excuses that I can totally debunk and in Part 2 I will do so to most of them.