Why does a 45 year old man start Martial Arts? The truth is I did not have any intention of getting into it. I wrestled in High School, but that was almost 30 years ago.
My Son-In-Law was driving an hour to train at a MMA gym, so I was trying to help him find a closer place to train. I found a new place close to our house, so I popped in to check it out. After talking with the owner, I decided that we should both try it out together. As soon as I stepped on the mat, I could feel something stirring in my gut.
Let me be clear, I was a decent wrestler in High School, but I was no monster. The feeling of one on one combat in the middle of the mat is what attracted me to it. I quit Football and joined the wrestling team. I won more than I lost, and the feeling of competing was addictive. One particular match that I won, I remember having my hand raised with the other guys blood all over my face. It was the best feeling ever, kind of sick huh. Again, I was not a monster we just fell wrong and his nose got broken. As I grew older I forgot that feeling until I stepped back on the mat, it came back hard.
I lost my first 2 matches as an adult, but I was competitive. Both of my opponents were bigger and younger than me and I gave them all they could handle. From this Gym I moved over to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym.
This led to a whole new level of training. I walked into this new gym and asked to roll with the instructor. I thought I was getting pretty good and I should make sure that he was the real thing. Well he was, he destroyed me within a minute. I had never experienced that level of grappling. It was exactly what I was looking for. In my mind, just get anywhere close to that level would be a great achievement. For the next 18 months I trained there, it wasn’t all fun and games though. I got hurt, a lot.
Busted noses, black eyes, busted eye, busted and cut up lips on the easy weeks. Sometimes it was a hyper extended thumbs, elbows, toes, shoulders and knees. One time I got my knee folded over sideways, that one put me out for a few weeks. Constant deep bruises and twisted ankles always reminded me that I was alive. I paid my dues and I loved every minute of it. I am willing to sweat, bleed and break for this.
Luckily my wife put up with all of this.
So why? Why do I love this? It’s an escape. I have the same problems as everyone else. We live in a society that will not let you relax, there is always something waiting to screw up the day. Work, money, Family, house, car, pets, taxes, doctors, dentists, meteors, plagues, nuclear war………….aaaawww hell! It just goes on and on, if you let it. As an adult you realize that you are never done, you just have to prioritize what is important enough for you to deal with at that moment. Now getting the life choked out of you might not seem like a great way to escape, however when you are literally trying not to get killed life becomes very simple. During a roll I am much more concerned with the position of my feet rather than my 401K. You are free of the worries of modern life, you are just a caveman trying to land a sweet toe hold.
The brotherhood that I have become a part of, is a genuine love of the roll. Wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu or Catch we are all connected as blood brothers and sisters. I am now training at my third gym and I will never stop. When I die the undertaker had better keep their chin tucked, I may just be playing the long game.