Why Train?

Damon Falke
Leirstrandvegen 1064 
9106 Straumsbukta 
Norway
river_dc@hotmail.com

Why Train?  

There are many reasons why someone might take up jiu jitsu.  What’s curious, is that someone may not know why they actually train until they have begun the practice. In 2019, I spent maybe 9 or 10 months training at Dark Horse Jiu Jitsu in Longmont, Colorado. In the beginning, I walked through the door, as some jiu jitsu people say, because I wanted to challenge myself physically.  
To provide some background, I had spent most of my forty-seven years living as a physical person—white water boater, occasional climber, wrangler, hiker and backpacker, though nothing related to martial arts. Then my kidneys failed. I was thirty-three years old at the time, and this was the expected outcome of lifelong renal issues. I had a transplant, which marked my twentieth surgery, and afterwards began a slower than expected recovery process. Life changed, and life had changed far more than I ever anticipated.
Whatever makes some of us physical stays with us. In jiu jitsu, I saw a raw form of physicality. On the surface this may sound odd, but I find the practice somewhat comparable to walking or hiking.  I require very little to walk, and I needed very little to practice jiu jitsu. The exception, of course, is that I needed someone to train with.  For all the technique videos any of us can watch on YouTube, there is not a substitute for a training partner. To train jiu jitsu means someone will smash against your body, will try to choke you, will try to manipulate your joints to a point of confounding pain.  Someone somehow will try to make you tap. That’s jiu jitsu.  These things will happen with varying degrees of enthusiasm, depending on who you train with. In any case, your comfort will be tested.    
I came into jiu jitsu to push myself physically, yet I learned that perhaps what I in fact wanted— arguably needed—was to be uncomfortable with and among other people. I don’t like to lose. In jiu jitsu training and rolling, I lost all the time. A roll is a roll and not a competition. This should be clear, and coaches and professors should make this clear. But at Dark Horse, a person can train with as high of aspirations as they wish to achieve. Another person can train with very different expectations. In either case, there will be a sting to being “defeated” again and again and again. This is part of the growth I discovered from jiu jitsu, and why I continued to walk through the door.  
There are many reasons why people walk through the door—to stay in shape, to become a better fighter, to be more active, to compete, to struggle against their own insecurities, to recover from whatever vices they battle.  I spoke with one man who trained because it was the best way he knew to keep his mind sharp.  He said he had worked all the crossword puzzles, but to keep his mind truly sharp, he felt there was no better course than jiu jitsu. 
For others, Dark Horse is their community.  I could see this in how established friends greeted each other with warmth, even with excitement, and how newcomers, as I was, are given a sincere chance to participate in that community.. That said, jiu jitsu, certainly at Dark Horse, is not a self-help group or recovery center. It’s a place to train jiu jitsu, and that is what you are going to do when you enter the door. That’s the real point.  That’s why everyone is there.  No about it.  Only the more you train, the more you will appreciate the reach of jiu jitsu.             




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