Friday, December 18, 2009

A deadly weapon am I

Beware world, I am a yellow belt.

I remember being super scared of my ju jitsu test just last week. See, I have been taking ju jitsu at church as a kind of release. At first, it seemed like something I would never do. Then, my friend Mark talked with me extensively on the subject this summer while I was at a camp. He told me that it was a rewarding experience. Something that, while challenging, would be extremely beneficial to me on several levels. I need to be challenged. I thrive in an environment where a challenge is posed and I have to use whatever is at my disposal to succeed. Yes, exactly like MacGyver. But I digress...

I started coming fairly regularly this past July. It was definitely strenuous. I took my fair share of bumps and bruises, but at the end of every night I was juiced. I would walk to my car feeling like this world contained very little that I could not do. This in no way means that I was kicking everyone's face in. Quite the contrary, I was apprehensive at times, but I was pushing myself. Every technique that hurt, I wanted to learn how to get out of it. Every move that was punishing my body, I wanted to master. It became, and still is, an addiction of sorts. Lately, my busy schedule of attempting to make my own niche in the design world has hindered my contact in the dojo. Nevertheless, I made it Tuesday night last week for my test. After coming fairly regularly for nearly 6 months, it was time to test my mettle and see if those things that I was pushing myself to do were really being carved into my laborious head.

The class began per usual, with extensive falls, rolls and streams of sweat covering my forehead. We pushed onward into "practicing" techniques. I knew it wasn't practice when I heard a whisper from sensei about my balance during one throw. Onward we pressed for what felt like hours. (I was slightly disappointed when it was mentioned we had only been at it for 15 minutes.) Finally, a break and each man/child going for a belt took their turn in front of the class. I remember wondering why I suddenly was completely relaxed. Perhaps I was too exhausted to allow myself to acknowledge any timidness. My turn came and went in what felt like seconds. Before I could collect my thoughts, I was being summoned to the front. My old belt was removed and tied in a "retired" knot. Then sensei tied on my new belt and bowed.

Sometimes this class doesn't seem like a big deal. Maybe it is because I have occasionally grabbed a beer with sensei. Or because my minster is also a sensei-in-training and we hang out. But for whatever reason, that night was filled with officialness. I'm pretty sure a small parade celebrating me played in my head. I had stuck to my guns and accomplished something. Seems easy enough. But I think this whole thing applies directly to our lives. There are definitely times that I wish my work ethic would correlate with my desire in ju jitsu. Maybe it would be easier if I got out of my own way. If, while the walls are crumbling and plans are going awry, I bowed and forgot about my heaving chest or sweaty forehead. I just need to go with the flow. I know that to some I come across as mellow or laid-back, but there is often times a storm raging in my cranium.

So, I guess I need to start working on the control of giving control. In ju jitsu, I allow myself to step back and watch. That's when I succeed. In life, I need to breathe deep and let it happen. I've heard it said many times from my Dad that a positive attitude is where it all begins. So,come on world, I am MacGyver and I only need a toothpick to take out Antarctica. Good start?

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