When did Jiu Jitsu start
When I was first starting out in Brazilian jiu jitsu, I experienced an internal struggle every day I went to train. On one hand, I was stupid crazy about training. I loved what I was learning and simply disappearing into the focus, the experience, and the challenges. But on the other hand, the anticipation of going into class, feeling intimidated and small because I was new and awful at it, and having to contend with a roomful of complete strangers, was sometimes almost too much to get past. I would sit in the parking lot before class every night, shoring up my confidence and psyching myself up to go inside.
Of course I was always glad I did, but it was an uphill battle, every single time. Part of the challenge was the feeling of benign neglect I sensed from the group. No one was ever mean, but nor were they anything much more than non-committal and detached. I recall being squarely on the outside looking in. Everyone was cordial enough but would quickly extricate themselves from conversations with me and gravitate toward their friends at the first opportunity. I remember wistfully observing how the old-timers - and to me, anyone who had been training for longer than six months was an old-timer - joked, drilled, and shot the breeze together.
I could give you some song and dance about how learning communities matter and how I knew my progress would be positively influenced by being more a part of this one, etc., etc. As a learning theorist, I honestly believe this to be true, generally speaking. But the fact is, at the time, I didn’t give a crap about learning theory. I just wanted to belong. I imagine this is one of the things many people who start a martial art, sign up for CrossFit, join an intramural sports team, or take a lesson are looking for: a sense of belonging and community. A team.