I didn’t really do anything.
But, I didn’t know anything. So, I probably looked awful. Or at least I looked like the guy who didn’t know what he was doing.
But, I don’t care.
It was wonderful.
I quoted Nick on this before – when I wrote my “slapped by reality” post. I’ll drop the exact same quote in again here:
“Our local (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) club had an horrific churn rate as new guys would come in to class and not come back. It was easy to know who would stick around – the unassuming guys who had come to learn. It was equally easy to predict the first day dropouts. They’d be wearing some tough guy clothes, perhaps insisting on wearing a coloured belt they’d picked up in a sports centre grading mill. They’d certainly have a stiff pride about them. Then one of our scrawny blue belts would wipe the mat with them. The ego death was simply too much to take. Their buffer had been overrun and their self-image could not take the real-world evidence that they simply weren’t as tough as they thought they were.”
That’s right. In case you didn’t figure it out yet – I decided to get into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Partly inspired by Nick’s and Masa’s assessments that training BJJ has given them discipline that has carried over into other ventures of their life.
Partly inspired by the inspiration of two of my best friends from my previous career Texas who are both heavily into BJJ nowadays. They’ve both gotten into much better shape than our days of sitting around an office all day and then heading to a happy hour to pound beers.
That applies to me as well. I was quite fat back then. In the worst shape of my life. At the age of 23.
I plan to keep it that way. I’ll never be that overweight again. I never have been since. And I never will be. Ever again.
The age of 23 – most people’s physical peak, is/will be my trough.
Anyway, back on topic.
Adding In New Habits Each Month
Who else inspired me? Oh yeah, the other bloggers – Niall has posted a lot about functional fitness : i.e.: being a man and not training for your “figure” or how you look in the mirror, but training for a functional skill set. In that sense – any martial art applies here. Any form of sports training really. Looking good should be a side benefit, not the main focus.
Niall also recently talked about focus, and how his current focus is on business and training (for him it was training Krav Manga while in Hong Kong).
What was my habit in August? Practicing Mandarin.
If there was one thing I did everyday during the month of August, it was practicing Mandarin. Mostly pronunciation.
Damn tones pairs. Tricky bastards.
So – now what? I’ll follow Maneesh’s idea here. In September, I’ll reinforce last month’s habit – so I’ll continue to practice Mandarin everyday.
And then I’ll add something new.
Fitness was an easy place to look. I’ve been itching to get back into the gym. I haven’t worked out seriously in quite a long time. I did P90x a bit back when I was living in London, and then in Tokyo – I joined a gym. But, I half-assed it. I didn’t have a solid plan, so I just went to the gym to go.
The last time I really had a solid workout program was when I lived in Boston. And that seems so long ago.
So, when I got back to Taipei, I considered getting back in the gym. I considered joining a gym and getting a personal trainer and getting back on the weights.
Then, I had a change of heart.
Why? Well, I guess partly due to the inspiration of those mentioned above: AJ, David, Nick, Masa and their love of BJJ.
Oh, and I remember another friend of mine back in Texas ranting about how the Gracie’s were the best fighters ever and no other fighting style can beat BJJ and when you look at mixed martial arts, anybody who’s anybody has solid knowledge of at least one good grappling discipline.
There’s also one other big reason for
Choosing Sports Training over Weightlifting.
There’s the social aspect of it.
Training with and against other people – you make friends. It’s a social sport, even though it’s an individual sport. That’s only natural.
I’m a very social person – I ranked as an ENTP last time I took the Myers-Briggs and that E is very telling. I talked to the counselor at UT (where I took the Myers-Briggs) and her notion of extrovert was very important to me and stuck with me, “somebody who gets energy from other people”. When her and I talked about that I recalled when I worked as a trader – a job mostly full of introverts – and I just always had to get up from my computer and walk around and talk to people. Mostly the other extroverts. The same guys mentioned above – who are coincidentally all into BJJ now.
So, I need people in my life. I need social activity. If I were to spend all of my time writing, reading, and working on the internet – I would go insane.
Weightlifting is too easy to do individually. You show up to the gym with headphones in and lift. For that reason, it’s too boring. I have enough individual things going on in my life. I need something that requires constant interaction with other people.
Preferably something besides drinking, which is just too easy to fall into as a main social activity. That winds up being costly: time-wise and money-wise. Health-wise as well. Losing whole days to hangovers sucks. Getting drunk and hooking up with random girls is fun, but I’ve done enough of that in recent years. I need something more productive to focus on.
So, I guess these recollections hit me and I remembered Masa knew of solid place to train here in Taipei, so I hit him up and sent me the info of the gym.
I hit up my boys in Texas too to get their thoughts on BJJ and getting started in it.
Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is: Getting Started & Getting Dedicated
I popped over to the gym.
Then came the next day to sit in on a class. The only idiot in the class without a gi.
I bought a 6-month membership.
6 moths? For a couple of reasons:
- Well, I’ve decided to settle down and stay in Taipei for at least the next 6 months (this inspired more by my quest to speak Mandarin than anything else. But, also because I quite like it here.)
- You get a discount for signing up for 6 months rather than doing month-to-month.
- And – the biggest reason is: I’ve been down this road before. Not with BJJ, but with boxing. I got all hype and into boxing and joined a boxing gym. Went 3 times a week for a month – was sore as hell at work everyday the next day. But, then when the month ended, I didn’t renew the membership. Why? “Too expensive” and “I didn’t have the money”. Playing basketball was cheaper. I was going to come back and re-join the boxing gym again when I had the funds to do so. But… I never did.
I’m determined to not make the same mistake with BJJ. This one needs a longer commitment.