Your best teacher is your last mistake


I am convinced that at least 50% of BJJ is trying to figure out where the bruises came from.

It just isn’t a normal morning after class if I don’t find or, in some cases, feel a new bruise. My son Drew caught a glimpse of my triceps bruises the other day and responded with, “Whoa, Mom! What happened!?”

Jiu-jitsu happened, son. Jiu-jitsu.

He then asked if he could count them. I stood there in our kitchen with my arms up as he followed along each one with his finger to count. “1-2-3-4-5-6…” The magic number? Eighteen. Eighteen bruises on just my arms.

Most of the bruises I don’t even notice. Whatever caused them couldn’t have been that bad because usually I can’t even figure out what exactly caused them or when they happened.

And then there are the ones that you know exactly what caused them.

Right now the biggest and most painful bruise I have is my chest. My whole chest. From neck to boobs. That’s what happens when you get smashed and crushed every time you roll. I didn’t even really notice the bruise, I just noticed how anything touching my chest felt like a horse putting all of it’s weight on me and made me want to scream a bunch of offensive words.

Tuesday in class we were doing a drill and when my husband put just a tiny amount of pressure on my chest I couldn’t believe how much it hurt. It felt like a giant rock sitting on my chest.

Wait. Let me get off course for a second.

I feel like, at this moment, my husband would want me to mention the possibility that it could be me just being a wimp and that I just can’t handle the pressure of his rock hard pecs. I’ll let you decided on which you think it is.

Back to what I was saying before.

I thought I wasn’t going be able to roll because of how little pressure I could take. That was a silly thought. Of course I rolled anyway.

Would you believe me if I told you that the bruise helped me? I got really, really good at keeping people from crushing me because of that bruise. It got me to remember to not go flat on my back. It got me to react and shrimp out faster. It got me to post out to relieve the pressure. It got me to work harder to not end up on the bottom. It helped me in so many ways.

They say, “Your best teacher is your last mistake.”

The mistakes that led to that bruise and that pain ended up being an amazing teacher for me. When something hurts, when you really, really don’t want something to happen, you’ll work that much harder to keep it from happening again.

I’m thankful for that bruise and that pain that came with it.

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