They say the hardest belt move you’ll ever make is leather to White; to convince yourself to give it a go, and dive straight into the unknown.
The physical steps involved in stepping outside of the routine you’ve carved for yourself, always seem to be the most arduous.
You’ve walked that path so many times, there’s a familiarity and a warmth to it; a sense of control in a world full of variables. No matter what people at work tell you, or no matter what the traffic is like or the weather is like or your day is like; your schedule is your schedule, and when you pull the car on the drive, or walk through that door it’s all over.
At least for another few hours.
It takes a Herculean effort to prise yourself out of this routine; you know that you should do or even would enjoy to. The bottom line is that modern life demands more of us than ever before. The digital highway doesn’t have any stop signs or traffic lights. You’re reading this now on some kind of portable device or computer; trying to steal back yet another 5 minutes for something that ran over again.
The hardest belt move arguably that you’ll ever make is taking your (insert colour as appropriate) belt from the wardrobe into your training bag, and you have to keep making it. That step of getting off the sofa, and making the mental change from lounging into purposeful activity never gets any easier. Even if we love what we do, we strive to be surrounded by what we love at home.
When we make that fateful step to stand up and get moving to go training, everything falls into place. We know how to get there, we know what we need and we know most of the people, most of the time that we’re going to train with.
We understand the principles of what’s required to navigate ourselves through that particular session and we can happily try our best to apply them. We can test the techniques acquired and feel alive for those minutes, even when rolling with the person who plays deep half/the one who wristlocks white belts or the one constantly shouts in Portuguese. This is often the same person.
The journey home, albeit sometimes feeling a bit beaten up, is a time for reflection but irrespective of what happened, the real outcome is always the same. Victory. The second walk back through the door nearly always feels more triumphant than the first. Get the kettle on, you’ve earned it.
The most important thing you did, was escape the most stifling of positions, Sofa Control.
Starting is hard.
Keeping going is harder.
Sofa Control is real, never let it stall you out.
Ben is a Blue Belt and experienced MMA judge working for the likes of UFC, Bellator, KSW and Cage Warriors.