Watching people compete at the highest level of their craft is both inspiring and intimidating. We watch in amazement as they demonstrate the highest levels of human ability. Sure, we wish we could be like that guy or girl. They’re in shape, they’re confident, and they make it look so easy. We compare ourselves to them and tell ourselves that we will never attain that level of excellence. In fact, we assume that they have some innate gift that helped them achieve greatness. I mean, André Galvão is good and all – but he was probably born with a black belt tied around his washboard abs.
Why even bother training when some people are just born into greatness? The truth is, they aren’t. Yeah, these people make it look easy to compete at the highest echelons of human ability, but it is because they have pushed their bodies and minds to the limit to get there. They have put thousands upon thousands of hours towards perfecting their abilities. Where the rest of us make excuses, they do not. Instead of throwing up their hands and saying “I’m too [old/sore/busy/weak/tired/fat/skinny/scared/etc] to train,” they force themselves to get better.
I have to continually remind myself of this when I sit down and watch guys like Marcelo Garcia, Roger Gracie, and Braulio Estima. It’s probably true that they are naturally talented – but they didn’t ride that talent to an ADCC gold medal; they put in thousands of hours of mat time.
Personally, I have no delusions about winning ADCC in the future – my priorities don’t include foregoing every other aspect of my life to be the best jiu jitsu practitioner in the world. I think for most people, it’s healthy to have some priorities that come ahead of jiu jitsu. I have a thesis program to focus on and a social life to maintain. But 10 years from now, I don’t want to look back with regret and wonder how good I could have been if I had gone to class instead of “drinking beers with the guys”.
No matter how [weak/strong/fat/thin/tired/busy/old] you are, you can make time to better yourself. Keep track of your priorities and don’t let petty excuses stop you from getting better.