Open mat Saturday is becoming one of my favorite days. It’s the one day that we as a family can train together. Me, my husband, and our two sons, Drew and Jackson, working together to improve. It’s so rewarding to have a family hobby that everyone participates in.
BJJ is so hard. It’s nice for us, as a family, to have people in our day to day life that can relate. That can say, “I know. I understand. I am here for you. We will work together. We can do this.”
For me, personally, it’s extra motivation to know that my kids are watching me. There were a few times that I left SFC wanting to quit and I had to remind myself that if my kids see me quit when it gets hard, what kind of example am I setting for them? What a hypocrite I would be if I told them they weren’t allowed to quit but then I did.
I remember the first time (of many, if I’m being honest) that I left class and cried on the way home. I tried to hide the tears from my kids sitting in the back seat because I was so afraid that it would make them think that jiu-jitsu was too hard. That they would think I was crazy for doing something that made me upset. That they would see me as weak.
I don’t remember the exact moment that it happened but eventually I realized that they should see me struggle and it’s okay for them to see me cry. They need to see that it is hard and challenging and that while I may feel defeated in little moments, I am never done. I never quit. As long as I show up and keep trying I will one day be successful.
As parents, working hard and never giving up are very, very important habits we want our kids to possess. It’s easy to tell them that, it’s better to show them. I love that jiu-jitsu gives us the opportunity to prove to them that the struggles are temporary if you stick with it and that working hard pays off.
I also love that jiu-jitsu is instilling qualities and changing our kids in ways that maybe we as parents would have had a hard time doing alone. Jiu-jitsu provides so many opportunities to teach each other about persistence, perseverance, determination, hard work, and humility. I’ve seen changes in our kids lately that might seem small to someone outside of our family but to us they are monumental.
Jackson just keeps climbing more and more out of his shyness. We watched him struggle with front rolls in front of a class of 20+ kids. No once did he look scared, embarrassed, or frustrated. He even smiled and laughed a little when he messed up. Before he would have been in tears and hiding behind me. I haven’t had to whisper “You are brave” in his ear in a really long time. That is so huge!
Drew is maturing emotionally and he is really starting to notice that the extra work we put in on Saturday is paying off. A couple of weeks ago we watched him really struggle during a game of “pass, sweep, submit.” He couldn’t pass someone’s guard and I could see the frustration and anger all over his bright red face. I thought, “Oh boy. Here we go.” I just knew he was going to come over to me after class pissed and in tears. He shocked me when he came over and said, “Can we work on guard passes on Saturday?” How awesome it was to see him take responsibility for his frustration, keep it under control, and to be willing to put the work to improve where he was lacking.
It’s also great that both boys can come to us with the struggles and we can work together to overcome them. Jiu-jitsu has been such a positive influence in our lives and I am so happy that we are doing it together as a family. We are stronger and closer because of it.
A big thank you to SFC for giving our family a great place to train together and for helping us teach our children valuable life lessons.