Everyone who does BJJ for longer than a few weeks in a row ends up taking breaks. I’m willing to have a round with you over that statement. Before 2020, I had been very unconventional in this regard as well. Some flues, occasional visits to places where there wasn’t a gym within travel distance. I haven’t yet had an injury that would have put me off the mat for considerable time. Maybe my size protects me, or not being terribly competitive (=taps early enough). Perhaps I’ve just been lucky.
I haven’t trained since last November. From May to November, I did train, very cautiously and limiting the amount of people I physically touched. And “only” twice a week, mostly. Then COVID cases once more reached the level where I couldn’t justify my training anymore. No matter how much I love doing BJJ and appreciate my training partners, it is still just my hobby. I can live without it.
Brief Interlude: a List of Some Things S Likes More Than BJJ (and S Likes BJJ a Lot)
1. The health of my loved ones, some of whom belong to vulnerable groups.
2. Human rights of the intersectional variety (don’t @ me, it’s not up for debate).
3. The fleeting moments of true peace and calm that sometimes accidentally washes over me.
4. Caring for someone else as they really are, not as a reflection of my own hopes and expectations plastered upon them. (Fuck, this took decades to learn. Sorry, secondary school friend, sorry internship supervisor, sorry medical professional just doing your job, sorry former co-worker.)
5. Succeeding in something I find scary. Okay, this also covers some bits of BJJ.
6. Chocolate, although it sometimes tastes better after some BJJ.
Character-building in trainers
So for the past nearly six months, I went back to last Spring’s schedule: 2-3 runs a week and 1-2 (mostly) body weight exercises a week. The latter I had dabbled with over the years, back when I was too self-conscious to enter a gym. Running was a different story, I’d honestly never ran without external pressure. I didn’t start running because I thought it would make that much of a difference to my “game”. I started running because it took me out of the house, and I thought it might give me some health benefits. And I wanted to know if someone like me could someday run for more than 30 seconds in a row.
After a year, I’m not fast or trim, but I can run 5 kilometres without stopping, several times a week. For someone who doesn’t do running and likes the chocolate, I’m glad. That’s not all: winter arrived, as in, it was snowy and cold here in Finland. I kept running.
Me at 29 would not have been caught dead breaking 5 mph, not even in nice weather. Thanks to the pandemic, me at 31 knows that attempting to run in sleet feels like practicing your stand-up game in a pool filled with treacle (and still I did it, silly sod). That just like in BJJ, remembering to breath makes an actual difference. That almost every time, it is better to not debate with myself whether or not I actually feel like going for a run after work. Physical health permitting, I just go.
A possible end of an era
Finland has a local election in June, and I’m an electoral officer. This made me eligible for the covid vaccine. I’ll get jabbed next week and my partner had his first shot last month. So who knows, maybe my self-decided time of solo training will come to an end soonish.
I’ve practiced the Grilled Chicken on my own for the entire winter.