“Nothing great ever comes from comfort zones.” I am sure we have seen this quote many times. I know I have personally lived this quote, even applying it to my jiu-jitsu game. When I started doing BJJ I definitely was NOT willing to be anywhere outside my comfort zone. With time, great training partners, and shared experiences outside of the gym those things helped propel me outside of the box I had trapped myself in. I decided that it was time to start attending outside seminars.
My first outside of the gym seminar was in Wichita with Girls in Gis. I really did not know what to expect. I was just hoping that it wasn’t going to be an “all men must suffer and let’s ban together to make that happen” or a “we are delicate flowers and we must be careful not to trample each other”. Thankfully it was neither of those scenarios. I however, was not prepared for the amount of solidarity and helpfulness that was so generously spread. It was a great learning environment, it isn’t easy to teach to first day people all the way up to black belts and make everyone feel included but that was done with ease. I made several new friends that day that I am still in touch with today.
Don’t get me wrong it isn’t that guys aren’t helpful, but my gym is a fighter gym with lots of MMA fighters and military combative competitors. They have their own fight camps to prepare for and need to focus on that. It was just a really nice change of pace from the “testosterone filled warriors training”. Honestly if I had to choose for a lady to attend her first outside seminar it would be a Girls in Gis seminar. And yes, we ladies are warriors in training as well.
I had another opportunity recently to attend another seminar that I was super excited about. It was a seminar given by black belt Keith Owen, of Idaho. I watch all his videos on YouTube and was very nervous that I would make a fool of myself by being a huge fan. If you know me personally, you know that that is a very distinct possibility.
That seminar went really well, I didn’t embarrass myself or my gym. I even got complimented which made me feel very giddy, but made me proud as it also reflected on my gym. Of course I learned a lot and have a wicked new take down that I am excited to try at my next tournament. I walked away with new friends from that seminar too.
The bottom line is we all tend to be creatures of habit, same training partner, same rolling partners, same warm ups. Jiu-jitsu is never the same, don’t be afraid to attend other gym seminars, meet new people, compete, travel and meet those you idolize. Even I have to be reminded of this. Life is way too short not to have new experiences. Besides, “Nothing great ever comes from comfort zones.”
Kim Morris is a blue belt with Combative Sport Center in Manhattan, Kan., under Joe Wilk. She has been practicing jiu jitsu since November of 2013. She is a wife of 21 years and a mom of two boys, ages 19 and 10.