By now you know your way around the mats. You know people by first name, you can tie your belt properly, and the academy is starting to feel like home.
Naturally you can relax a little. You’re not on high alert. You can put your hair down and be happy as yourself. This is beneficial because you need to be calm to be present. And only when you are present does the learning happen.
However, there can be a trap of becoming too relaxed and comfortable when you let too many things slide. This is complacency.
Others can swing into beast mode. They train so hard and they’re so focused on discipline that they run themselves into the ground in no time. This is hyper-vigilance.
Finding the Balance
You need to relax, and trust in yourself. And you also need to be dedicated, and get help from others.
All of these skills are necessary for a long life on the mats. The secret is knowing what strategy to employ at the right time.
You can harness respect on the mats with quiet humility and razor sharp confidence in your technique during rolling.
You can nurture your body by both listening to how it feels, as well as regular prehab and maintenance routines.
You can train to be the best version of yourself, whilst still helping your teammates around you.
Certain situations call for different measures.
When you are able to employ the two, and switch your intention at will, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds while avoiding common pitfalls in each.
The important thing in this whole affair is to determine how you work best.
What is your best self? What do you need in order to be your best self?
Look back to the times where you remember rocking it. How did that feel? Think of what you were you doing in order to cultivate that feeling. Do more of that.
You don’t need to swing wildly from one extreme to the other. Just nudge yourself back to the middle road when necessary. Apply a little more or a little less relaxation and vigilance as necessary.
This is for a Lifetime
When you rev too high, and take too many risks, your chances of break down are higher. And it’s the breakdowns that mean you have to stop on the side and wait for help.
Don't break down. Keep moving forward.
When you envision jiu jitsu for life, you divert your attention to the long road. Along the journey, you can afford to go a little over the limit, and a little under. In the grand scheme of it all it doesn’t matter so much.
Your best self is the one that stays on course. Safe, secure, and ready to enjoy jiu jitsu. This is how to be at your best on the mats, and for life.