I got a call from my son yesterday. He’s been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a while, but he’s still white and just got his first blue belt. For beginners, this is a big problem. Because he definitely shows that he’s making progress. Because the blue belt turns in the white belt for a very long time before the roles slowly start to reverse a bit.

I told him I was proud of him and that he would soon become a much better grappler than I was.

I was a young martial artist and I remember having these benchmark moments.

We all get older and keep training.

I was 16 and he was an adult. I hadn’t trained in kung fu that long, and we did a lot of sparring, and he obviously wasn’t. As I was about to take an exam, I thought he would kick my butt. It was the other way around: I let him land kicks and sweeps at will.

That moment will stay forever, regardless of subsequent training. For me, it sowed the seeds that blossomed into self-confidence after overcoming even more hurdles. Is it possible?

That was over 35 years ago. I am still training and learning. Benchmarking moments are different now and occur less frequently. When they do, the same sense of joy and drive to train harder is still there.

Looking back at this article I wrote ten years ago, Aging Martial Artists: How to Keep Fighting When You’re Older, I still agree with what I wrote there.

I look forward to writing about this again in 10 years.

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