Are You Being A Crappy Boyfriend To Your Training?

Well, are you?  Are you returning calls?  Are you listening when she talks?  Are you looking her in the eye?  Are you buying her dinner?  Surprising her with small gifts, for no reason?  Are you remembering birthdays and such?  Are you paying ATTENTION????

Well, I thought I was.  But life is a fluid vehicle; priorities shift, wax, and wane.  Some elements demand your attention, like a psychotic mistress.  They step in like Glenn Close with frizzy hair and crazy eyes, and declare, "I won't be IGNORED Dan!..."

So there I was Spring of 2017.  I had just learned my score and subsequent (hilariously low) ranking on the sergeant's exam at work.  The process was arduous, time consuming, annoying,  long, way too long.  I was frustrated and I swore up and down "I'll NEVER go through that process again!"  Suckers were thrown into soil.  Tantrums occurred when no one else was looking.  POII is the life for me!

But time heals all annoyances, and also assists the brain in erasing the memory during the times the brain knows better than the heart.  Time whispered to my mind, "Okay, so, make her forget about the hours and hours and hours of studying.  She really needs to be a sergeant!  Can you do that?"  My mind responded, "Oh TOTALLY!  I am so on this!  I think you passed by enough.  She had that mega-fit back in May, but it's November now, and I think I can make this work."  My heart, none the wiser, listened when the brain spoke up and moved the chess pieces inside my anatomy.

November 2017.  Wellllllll.  Maybe I'll try it again.  The nano-sized question and answer session that started to repeat was "Do I have another sergeant process in me?.....Yes."  Done.  Yes I did.  And I did it.  I threw myself into the process.  No, I HURLED my being into it.  I am nearly a 100% kinesthetic learner, so when my first two weeks of study appeared to be an utter failure according to the practice tests I took, I researched how kinesthetic folks get through law school.  I changed my methods and they worked!  My schedule went something like this:  Get up, coffee, go to work, (graveyards at the time), study at work.  On my days off it went: Get up, coffee, jiu jitsu, or arnis-eskrima if it was Sunday, then study at the library until they closed, then study at the Starbucks until they closed, then study at Manana's Mexican Restaurant until they closed.

From November 2017 to February 2018 I did this.  The amount of study material that made up the required reading was monumental.  And, so. dry. just. so.       dry.  Policies.  Procedures.  Discipline Manuals.  One book that was one guy's take on leadership, and included good information, but was about 100 pages too long.

But, got 'er done.  I passed the written exam (barely).  Then I dove into the interview portion, and thanks to the awesome people in my study group, the awesome people that listened to me recite my "this is why I am qualified for this job" speech ad nauseam, and several more hours of prep time, I passed the interview, but this part I passed with a banner of flying colors.  I landed in a prime position of 19th overall in the sergeant candidate field.  I was promoted in the first round (there are usually three per process).

Back to normal, right?  Back to training.  Right under my nose, the intensity of my training shifted gears.  The enthusiastic "kick" I usually had for class was pulled from it's assignment, repackaged, and then moved to the section of my brain that loves to ingest mundane information.  I resumed a normal workout schedule, but I was really just going through the motions.  Ha!  or lack of motion.  I was getting passed, swept, pounced upon.  And I was letting it happen.  I was committing a huge disservice to my training partners, and myself.

Classmates came to my rescue around October of 2018 and pointed out in no uncertain terms I needed to step it up, and step it up right now.  One told me my pressure was practically non-existent.  Another told me my level of aggression was ghost-like.  My arnis instructor told me my stick-fighting was just shy of being wholly effective, because my strikes were coming up short.

I listened.  I reevaluated, and realized the months of studying and directing energies elsewhere had siphoned away my kick.  I had been ignoring my training.  I had ignored the details of the game, the details that MAKE the game.  I laughed out loud as I thought to myself, I've been like a crappy boyfriend to my arts.  Phone calls have not been returned and I've missed ALL the special days I was supposed to remember.

The road of refocus however, is wonderful and truly joyful.  Years ago I went mountain biking in Fruita, Colorado, which is known for single track.  Miles and miles and serene, clean, winding single track.  Resetting the training mind became a simple project of riding down the clean singletrack, and letting that track lead me to the room where the dimmer switch was temporarily turned down low.  I reopened trunks in my brain that had been partially closed for a few months and threw the contents all over the floor.  I let the dust fly in my face.  I let the bouncing balls hit the walls and knock over the lamps.   I turned the lights up high and ripped the curtains off the windows off the windows.  I let the light in one day, and just like that, training came back into sharp focus.  I looked training in the eye and started listening with committed intent.

The intent has led me to new paths.  My pressure is present and improving.  I commit to a constant low hum of aggression in my training during each session.  Being aggressive is not always natural for me, but when I call on it, she comes to dinner.  I started assisting with the children's class at Fabio's.  I started an Open Mat session at my substation.  I have taken on my very first student for private lessons.  The well is full and now I am compelled to not only keep it full, but to share the contents.  


  1. This brightened up my emails this morning. Thank you, and good wishes for 2019!

    1. Hi Meg! I tried to reply earlier but I don't think it worked. Thank you for reading! Feels good to be writing again.

  2. Yay, so happy to see another great BJJ blog I used to read resurface! And congrats on both making Sergeant and the renewed training focus. 😍


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