Starting July 6 we are finally allowing some new beginners into our club. After our latest intake we decided to focus on improving our beginner and intermediate level students.
Since we introduced our beginners program we have seen a steady increase in the amount of people wanting to train Jiu Jitsu. One of our more recent incumbents, Pat Byrne, has been training Jiu Jitsu for 5 months and has been tracking his own progress using social media to document his journey in the gentle art.
“I began training with Royal Grappling Academy in January of this year. I’d been playing sports on and off for years and was looking for something different. I had been running for a couple of years and ran a few half marathons and marathons over that time. One of my goals when looking to begin Jiu Jitsu was to lose weight, but once you actually go to a few of the classes, that becomes a secondary concern.
At 32 I had gained a bit of weight and wanted to try something else as running had really started to take its toll on my legs. I first contacted Roger about a year before I actually started, but with wedding plans in full swing it was virtually impossible to fit anything else in to a busy schedule including shift work.
When I saw there was to be a beginners class starting in Navan in January this year, which is only 10 minutes from where I live, I jumped at the chance and called Roger to add me to the list. My thoughts were, even if I didn’t like it, the course wasn’t that expensive to begin with so I had pretty much nothing to lose. But, like most who walk on the mats will tell you, once you start Jiu Jitsu, it’s hard to give it up. By week 2 I couldn’t get enough. Staying behind for the ‘advanced’ classes and getting my ass kicked by some superb BJJ practitioners. But that is what helps you the most because everyone supports everyone. They tell you what you did wrong and why they were able to get into a certain position or finish.
Something I’ve noticed since starting is the community spirit amongst most people training BJJ, across several clubs and academies. The dig out from other gyms when RGA was being renovated was a real stand out. The camaraderie with everyone who you haven’t trained with before but with a sense that we are all there to help each other progress and get better.
I’ve had my fair share of injuries along the way, but your desire to get back onto the mats is as strong as anything, but sometimes you just need to let your body rest. Once you are ready to return, you won’t fail to find someone who is willing to roll light with you while you slowly get back into it.
The thing that surprised me most about training Jiu Jitsu that I never expected is that it changed me as a person. After every training session I go home buzzing. Along with being absolutely exhausted and a slight soreness, the endorphins are flowing which can sometimes make it hard to rest or sleep straight away. Even my other half has noticed the changes it has made to me. I am much calmer, happier person since January. It also has made me want to look after my body better, eating better food which will go hand in hand with losing the weight I had originally intended to do. This would enable me to train better and become fitter in the process.
I set up an Instagram and Twitter account to document my progress with the intention of showing others who may want to train Jiu Jitsu, what is involved from a real persons point of view. It starts from my first night, so the journey so far is all there. I’ve had a couple of people ask me questions on twitter from all over on how it’s going and they would be interested in joining their own local club. I also wanted to create them for others who may have started training about the same time as me, so that they can see that most white belts have all the same learning process and struggles, but it’s OK to go at your own pace.
Having watched some of the white belts when I started, now being promoted to Blue belt, it’s a real incentive to come to training and just try to get better. It’s a great group to train with, who are just as invested in helping to improve your game as they are their own. Hopefully things progress as well as they have into the future, because even only starting at 32, I have many years left yet. It’s never too late to start”
Check out Pats Instagram here:@bjjprogress
Check out Pats Blog here: @bjjprogress