When looking back at my Jiu-Jitsu journey, each week back on the mat since injuring my ribs has been filled with a-ha moments. While I don't feel 85% and still have some pain in the muscles around where my rib injury occurred, I have been moving much more fluidly and this injury has taught me so much about the gentle art, and more so, myself.
In general, since returning to training last November after the five year layoff, I've encountered the typical aches and pains and a number of minor injuries, mostly muscle strains, locked joints, etc. The rib injury was different because I didn't feel like a week off was enough. 3 weeks and 6 days probably wasn't enough by 'medical' standards but it was enough for my mind to get over the blocks and fear of injuring myself so bad I'd miss even more time.
Whether a small injury and week off or a longer injury and more time away, I've had to work through it all to keep Jiu-Jitsu in my Life. Perhaps having seen what a long layoff does to my drive, I did not want to take the risk of easing into complacency.
Read any Jiu-Jitsu magazine, forum, or blog, and talk of injury is common. Any injury doesn't allow one to play what feels best. And that might mean getting smashed more. When I was younger and first began Jiu-Jitsu, getting smashed, was not fun at all. I can't say I go to class now telling myself, "Chee, time to get smashed."
But it doesn't matter, because Jiu-Jitsu is not necessarily about dominating or besting others. Rather it is about becoming the best version of myself. Life functions in much the same way, where a minor injury could be the equivalent of tension in a relationship or a tough run at work and a major injury, a break-up or getting laid off, these things happen, and you can't stop rolling.
You just adapt.
Sometimes that means just getting smashed and finding the joy in that, however you can. Other times, it means just working on one thing because it's all I can do. Whatever the case, each injury has taught me so much more about how to utilize Jiu-Jitsu in training and other areas of my Life.
Anything that I struggle with on the mat can be applied to other areas of my Life.
Overcoming anxiety to go back after such a long time away last year during a very challenging point in Life, working through injuries because I saw the value in the grind and needed to be out there, changing my Life so that Jiu-Jitsu was a priority, has all been for my greater well-being.
Shaking off the dust, cleaning off the rust of my entirety, has been the best part of this Journey. Everything else from here, is all good, because the learning is what's the best part of it all.