Jiu-Jitsu relationships, the other side of the coin…
Written by my partner in crime…
“So, is he like a professional?! OMG, that’s so cool!” You have NO clue how many times I have heard that. And yes, it is super cool that Berty can (for all intents and purposes) be considered a professional athlete. He has sponsors (though, I wish with all of my heart he had more) and receives products and has traveled halfway across the country to roll. He has friends all over the world of all shapes and sizes and genders because the Jiu Jitsu world is still rather small. He has moments of self-doubt and days when he feels like all the work he puts in is for nothing. He feels EVERYTHING a normal athlete (pro or not) feels.
He lives Jiu Jitsu. He sleeps it and breathes it.
He works at the gym where he trains and even runs a website that educates other grapplers on BJJ products. And he trains and works and reviews products AND picks the kids up from school everyday and preps and cooks our food and takes our daughter to dance and supports me and my competitions (he even sold a gi to buy my shoes and bikini)….and he does it all LIKE.A.BOSS.
The funny thing is when people get all excited about his sport (yup, he’s considered a fighter) they don’t think about the scary parts. When I see one of the fighters find a new mate or I see a girlfriend or wife of a new guy (I simply am using girlfriends as an example, not saying husbands of the bad ass women fighters don’t feel the same way!) I often wondering how they are going to cope. Recently while sitting mat side for the trillionth time one of the guys introduced me to his new lady friend. (Of course, I am “team mom” so for the most part, the fighters are like our children.) I watched her as she was watching him roll and when he got tapped I watched as she started to jump up to comfort him. I told her to sit back down and wait for him to come to her. She looked at me like I was crazy but sat back down.
He sat in front of her and kind of ignored her attempts to comfort him. I totally get both sides. He’s pissed and his pride aches a little AND he has to convince himself that it was just a slip BECAUSE he has to go back out on that mat and do it again in a bit. No time for self-loathing or being down. In Jiu Jitsu anger only gets you hurt, pride and otherwise. But, I also understand her viewpoint. It can be a very lonely thing. You sit there. You want to hug them and tell them it’s okay but you can’t. Or shouldn’t. You jumping up and telling them that it will be fine just makes them feel a little worse. To them, it’s not okay. They take so much time and so much effort and quite literally risk their lives to do a sport they LOVE. They have let themselves down. AND (if they have a partner) they probably feel like they have let their partners down. I mean, they take hours…HOURS…out of their family time to train.
I don’t do Jiu Jitsu. I will drill with Berty if he needs a drilling partner or let him use me as a dummy if he just watched a new video. I feel like his time on the mats is his time. It’s his therapy. It’s his time with his friends. Those people on the mats know him really, really well and he puts ALL of his trust in them. Jiu Jitsu makes his bad days a little better. His teammates can fix problems that I can’t even touch, JUST by training with him. They don’t even have to speak. It’s the flow and the endorphins and the fact that they know what it’s like to want something SO badly that they are willing to risk everything. Sometimes, that is hard to deal with. Sometimes, I want to fix it. Sometimes, I want to be the one that can make it all better. But, I can’t. I really, really can’t so, I have learned to come to terms with it. Every now and then I have a moment where I am burned out. And Berty is so amazing that he will usually take a night off training and feed me chocolate and snuggle and watch “Say Yes to the Dress” with me.
There are times when the doubt creeps in. I trust him with my whole heart. I really, truly do so, before you read what I’m about to write….take the time to let that sink in. Sometimes the positions they get into while training can be a little intimate looking (HA, I know exactly which training partners will laugh at this). I know FOR A FACT that their aren’t any thoughts like that at all from Berty and 99% of his drilling partners. But, think about it….he comes home sweaty, smelly, covered in hickies and mat burns and jumps straight in the shower….for a less than stellar relationship, that could be a problem. Especially when you add the fact that you spend most weekends in a smelly school gym or an area.
You sit mat side for whole days and weekends watching another person trying to choke your favorite person EVER. LITERALLY choke them out. Or break their arm or leg or snap their neck or finger or ankle or toes. It, at times, is heart stopping. If you were to watch the videos of Berty rolling then you will see me shaking. It’s silly and scary and amazing and awe-inspiring all at once.
I stand by him and cheer for him and yell at him because I love him. I really do enjoy watching him and compete and I love the fact that we, as a team, are teaching our kids that it important to have goals and really fight for them. Want them. Dreams are perfect and terrifying all at once. I adore the fact that he knows all of this. He knows, just by the look on my face, what I need. He knows that I want my pro card almost as badly as he wants an IBJJF World Championship medal. And he spends weekends sitting in auditoriums watching me walk around on stage in a bikini the size of a Kleenex. Without a doubt. He cheers and pushes me and supports me in so many ways.
I encourage everyone to support their better halves in whatever goal it is that they have. It isn’t my place to understand WHY. It’s not for me to understand. It’s his. He isn’t asking me to sit by as he has an affair. He is asking me to support his goals and dreams. That isn’t too much. I love him more because out of all the people he could have chosen to have by his side, he chose me. I am strong. I am resilient. It is hard. Some days it is incredibly hard but I wouldn’t change our life for the world.
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grown. So do it.” -Kurt Vonnegut