Change is hard.
I’ve been training jiu jitsu consistently since 21 January 2017,
I’ve dropped into many gyms that weren’t my own for open mats, seminars and competitions and I’ve flown to the other-side of the world for a week-long camp where I knew no one.
I’ve left my first home gym for another and returned after seven months away.
I’m no stranger to new environments and unfamiliar training partners but fear of the unknown never really goes away unless you’re a rare breed of human.
After 10 months back at my home gym I’ve now left for the second time. I’ve been around the block but starting at this new gym I came in with fear.
Objectively the very fact that I had any reservations is ridiculous.
This gym is full of people I know and love. People who I’ve trained with before and competed against many times but I was still scared.
I felt like I had to prove myself all over again.
Many people here don’t know me and I felt like if I didn’t roll or do a technique well people were going to think I didn’t deserve to wear my blue belt or even worse, think negatively about the quality of my previous club.
None of these feelings had any basis in fact, it was just my rampant impostor syndrome rearing it’s ugly head.
When I walked in the door for my first class, my gaze was lowered down and I was even shaking until I heard two familiar voices say hello.
That drew me into my surroundings immediately and gave me the balls to look around the room at people i didn’t know and apart from a few curios glances no one really paid to much attention to me.
But not in a rude way.
As we drilled a few guard passing/guard retaining sequences and swapped partners every other round, people would give a nod of approval if you did something well or offer some helpful tip if you didn’t do something so well.
My session went from counting down the minutes until class was over to forgetting there was a time limit to the class completely.
Culture is caught not taught
When you’re trying to pick a new gym to go to you may do the old fashion Google search and comb through every review of the place you can find.
Anyone can pretty much say whatever they want on the internet and the only way to find out whether all those five star reviews are legit is to go in and try the place out for yourself.
As First National Byron Bay’s Chris Hanley has said many times, culture is caught not taught.
You will know if the place is for you by the way people treat each other on and off the mats, the quality of the instruction you see being given and the very air you breath.
It’s a special thing to walk into a new gym convinced it won’t live up to the vibes of your previous club (if you left on good terms) and walk out being able to picture yourself earn a few belt promotions at the new place.
It feels like hope. It feels like new opportunities. It feels like you’re NOT gonna be that blue belt who quit.
Comfortable being uncomfortable
When you spend a good amount of time training at one place, you start to assert yourself in the pecking order of that gym and it can become a crutch.
I’m not a psychologist so I can’t tell you why but you become comfortable knowing where your place is and I think that is awful.
Comfort turns into complacency and complacency can make you stagnant. Stuck in the mud and not getting better.
I couldn’t think of anything worse.
When you to train with unfamiliar bodies, you’re exposed to a wide variety of experiences which may never have happened otherwise.
It opens up your mind to new possibilities that can only be a good thing for you and your jiu jitsu.
Fuck being comfortable.