Overcoming the COVID19 Blues

We all know in 2020, many gyms and personal training schedules were impacted because of COVID. If you took time off from training, perhaps you’ve experienced (or are experiencing) the “COVID blues.” You enjoy jiu jitsu and miss your time on the mats, yet circumstances have kept you from training and you’re wondering if going back is even going to be worth it.

What if I show up and I’ve forgotten all my jiu jitsu?

What if everyone gives me a hard time because it’s been so long since I’ve trained?

What if I can’t even make it through a round like I used to?

What if all the lower belts are better than me and I lose?

What if…?

For anyone who’s gone through the infamous “blue belt blues,” some of these thoughts may sound familiar. The truth is, if we focus on these thoughts and give in to the “What if’s…?” getting back in the gym will keep getting pushed off. Taking a break from training in the normal gym environment may have been the best option for you this past year, yet returning to the mats now seems equally as daunting. Because who truly enjoys a training session that goes something like this??


Guard passed….again.

Stuck on bottom…again.

Can’t breathe…again.


I was talking with a friend and training partner about this discouragement because I felt like no matter what, I was constantly losing. I had made the decision to show up, but roll after roll felt like mistake after mistake. Even when I would start to see progress, as a whole it still felt like every training session went the same way – me on bottom, losing. Then my friend simply said,”Katie, you don’t train Jiu Jitsu to get good. You train Jiu Jitsu because it’s good for you.”

I thought about that the rest of the day. Somehow simply enjoying training had gotten lost because I had become solely focused on improving, advancing, and winning – and in doing so was feeling discouraged by where I thought I should be rather than embracing and enjoying where I am. Improving, advancing, and winning aren’t necessarily reasons to train, they are simply the by-products of why I train…

 If I train because jiu jitsu is good for me, then I’m training to:

 –       Clear my mind of negativity and worry.

–       Remember there’s always a way out and to keep fighting – on and off the mats.

–       Strengthen my body and spirit.

–       Connect me to great people and amazing friends.

–       Keep me humble and boost my ego, all at the same time.

–       Be better in all areas of my life.

–       Release endorphins and boost my mood.

–       Change my outlook on problems and challenges.

–       Be happy.

–       Have fun.

If your training was interrupted because of COVID and you find yourself with a case of the COVID Blues – feeling discouraged, nervous, and afraid to step back on the mats, it’s normal. Remember that you don’t have to prove or convince anyone that you belong there. We don’t just train to win or to get good, we train because the journey is good for us. Perhaps overcoming the “COVID Blues” isn’t so much about “getting good” and returning back to the skill level before you had to take a break. Instead, perhaps it’s about releasing the outcomes of how you think you should be and simply giving into your journey as it is. At the end of the day, knowing that we train Jiu Jitsu because it’s good is more than enough reason to get back on the mats and keep fighting.



Kate Williamson

Staff Writer

Katie is a blue belt training at Elite Team Visalia in California under Professor Tom Knox. When not training, she works as a Life Fulfillment Coach helping people discover their purpose and reach their full potential, facilitates trainings to improve team dynamics, and co-hosts a podcast called Life Off the Mat with fellow teammates. You can connect with her on social media @legitkatiewilliamson and learn more about becoming your best self at www.katiewilliamsoncoaching.com



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