Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
My purple belt is one of my greatest accomplishments so far. Jiu jitsu is unique in how long it takes to get to black belt. As a white belt, I virtually couldn’t tell the difference between a purple and a black belt. It’s all about perspective. From white belt through my early blue belt days, going against a purple belt, I would be completely helpless, and no matter what I did, it seemed they would be a million steps ahead of me.
Even though I was getting crushed, it was still actually super fun!
More than 7 years later, I don’t claim to be close to a black belt level, but I’ve attained the level which left the previous me completely lost and helpless. It’s put me on a trajectory forward, where year after year, I hope to be that person who leaves the previous me in the dust.
In physical combat, such as bjj, your ego collapses to the material reality on the mat. You cannot fake it, and day to day, you don’t feel much different; but after some time, looking back, it’s amazing how far you’ve come!
Another amazing side effect is that progress on the mat actually DOES carry over to other parts of your life. I’m not going to lie to myself like no matter what happens, that I’m impermeable to the physical dangers of the real world; but DAMN am I way better equipped to deal with some of those harsh realities than I would be otherwise.
Through empathy, I recognize seeing “my previous self” in others most vividly through students first starting bjj. I see myself with less experience, and it makes me want to bring them up; having been through similar struggles. In a completely non-condescending way, I get intrinsic joy from this and find purpose in it. It motivates me to learn more so that I can bring up even more people, and continue making real friends.
At this point, the mat feels like home, which means I can feel at home anywhere.
I hope a certain combination of honest words I wrote does convince you to give it a try.