Check your Ego at the Door?

“The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps”

Marsellus Wallace

After seven long weeks away off the mats with broken ribs, I was back. My enforced exile had given me plenty of time to obsess over a perceived atrophying of my ability. The art of jiu-jitsu had not come easily to me, nearly eight years of hard strife to achieve mediocrity, so the thought of any depletion in my skill level was enough to consume all my waking thoughts.

The excitement of being back at homebase after five months away in South America, and being driven fully by my ego, not wanting to actually appear worse than when I Ieft, I immediately attempted to go to war. My ribs though, were not yet up for the challenge, I discovered that I couldn’t play guard, well, I couldn’t if I wanted to sweep anyway! I couldn’t sit in anyone’s closed guard, and for some reason I kept finding myself in positions where I was being bear-hugged.

My heart sank when I realised that I would have to be that guy, everybody knows the one, after asking you to roll they mention they are hurt, and they can’t do this, and can’t do that. In the past, when I found myself in this situation, I’d felt aggrieved, secretly thinking, why didn’t you stay at home, so I could get on warring with someone else? Of course, I didn’t realise the unbelievably selfish nature of this attitude until the shoe was firmly on the other foot.

While jiu-jitsu can catapult you into a state of euphoria, that is incomparable, exceeding any chemical high, it also has the power to throw you into a pit of despair and deliver a blow to your ego akin to a hundred hand-slap in the nuts. Any talk of leaving your ego at the door is bullshit, your ego stays tied around your waist.

It is a deplorable state of affairs to leave the mats having a crisis of faith just because a training partner who you perceive as possessing an inferior skillset to your own gets the better of you. Yet, in the last few weeks it is a state that I’ve found myself in.

I definitely haven’t enjoyed this experience, but on reflection, it has been beneficial, it has been a severe ego-checker and I’ve achieved a measure of humility that had obviously been missing for a while. Nevertheless, I’ve made a few mental notes of cats that will certainly be getting it when my ribs are back to a hundred percent.

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