Today ended well. I went to jujitsu and received my first rank. I got a stripe on my white belt. Jujitsu is hard work. My entire body hurts after every time I practice. I have bruises on my knees, ankles, wrists and arms. I have been kneed in the head, twice. I have tapped out from arm bars, choke holds, and sometimes just because I’m being squished. I am always on the bottom or thrown to the bottom when we roll. I am constantly being put back under, being forced to tap. My back makes cracking noises, my fingers hurt. I almost bloodied my nose. My quads are on fire. Tomorrow I’ll be sore and when I get out of bed I’m going to feel really old. I’m reminded that I’m not in my twenties any more, nor in my thirties. I saw a picture of myself and I look like my mom. I understand why she kept working hard. I see my mat mates and I see some with sculpted bodies and some with “normal” bodies. Class starts at 7 but doesn’t end until almost 10. It’s a lot of work. So the question I’m asked frequently is why? Why do I go through the torture? Why do I keep going back, only to be beaten again? Don’t you think you’re kind of old for this? Don’t you think you could find a safer form of exercise? I just keep going. So why do I do this? There are lots of reasons. I need the exercise. I want to learn how to protect myself. I want to do something that takes my mind off of everything else going on in my life. I like that it’s hard. I like that I know that I’ll be sore that evening and the next day. What is it about jujitsu that keeps me coming back for more? Am I a glutton for punishment? No. I don’t like being beat every time. I don’t like being choked, or crushed, or arm barred, or bruised, or scratched, or my hair caught on something, or pushed, or pulled, or dropped, or thrown… no. I don’t like any of that. So why? It is a challenge. I am learning the techniques and I am getting better. I am harder to submit than I was when I started. I am stronger and I am healthier. I have an advantage of being smaller, shorter, than my mat mates. I am stubborn. When I choose to do something, I will do it. I will not stop. I will learn and I know that learning is hard. I know I know next to nothing about jujitsu right now. And I know that as time passes, I’ll still know next to nothing. But I will be better and I will grow, and I will learn. Will my body become chiseled like some of theirs? Maybe, maybe not. Is it worth the effort even if the “goal” is never reached? Absolutely. So I will go back, I will continue the journey that I’ve started. I’m excited about it. Jujitsu is fun. The people are friendly, energetic, lively, and kind. I find myself giggling or making silly noises as I go through some of the practices. What else do I like about jujitsu? I like that it’s physical, very physical. When I am rolling with someone, I am alive. There’s no doubt that I am alive and that someone else knows it. When I hurt I know that I am alive and that I am grateful for my life. When I am still sore days later I know that I am still alive and again I am grateful. Jujitsu requires not only that you use your body but you must also use your mind when you roll. You must think about what will work best and you must think about what it is your opponent is going to do. Jujitsu requires the use of your entire body, heart, mind, and soul. There is nothing else able to penetrate your being when you are rolling with another person. Either you stay focused or you end up tapping out. There is no other choice. Why do I do jujitsu? I do it because I do it. Why don’t you?