The Dismantling

I had a hard time in class today. Essentially, I got my ass kicked. Repeatedly. Normally when this happens, I consider it a pretty good day; when my wife asks me how class went, I usually respond with “I learned a lot” — because I’m learning what not to do, how to rely on technique, how to breathe under pressure, etc.

Today though, it felt like I was underwater and just couldn’t move quickly or strongly enough… that my technique was lacking and everyone saw my faults, exposed for the world. Emotionally, I began to unravel. Mentally, I was being dismantled.

In the past, during these times of dismantling, I’ve pounded the mat in frustration, gotten angry on the outside, been childish. I’ve found that it does nothing for me or any of the guys that I’m working with. I’m glad they’re having a good day; they should be proud of their technique. I don’t ever want someone to hold back on me because, for all intents and purposes, I’m a little bitch when I lose. Or even worse, I don’t want to be the guy that people roll with for a quick inflation of their ego. My name won’t end up on some bathroom stall: “For an easy time, call….”

That isn’t who I am or who I want to be.

My coach and good friend pulled me aside, rolled with me, gave me some encouragement and let me man up. I appreciate that. It isn’t easy to pick yourself off the mat, slap hands and go again, but that’s where the mettle is made. It’s a learning process and I’m going to have the bad days. More than that, it’s good that I have the bad days because those are the times when growth is most easily fostered — as long as I can keep my wits about me and be open to the teachings of my mentors.

As a result, I think I’m going to make a new patch. Something easy, a reminder:

In order to be rebuilt, you must first be dismantled.

I guess I’m on my way.

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