Last month I started taking jiu jitsu lessons and I'm not sure exactly what it is about the discipline but I love it - so much so that I bought a year membership, a gi, and I've been spending downtime YouTube-ing tutorials, self-defense moves, and most importantly, how to tie a belt. I've discovered that there's a great big, hilarious gap between observing/mentally understanding, and doing/kinesthetically understanding. I have a fish out of water experience each time I go to class, which offers a sharp contrast to my yoga practice. I by no means have mastered the asana practice, but some of the poses feel as ordinary as walking. Years of regular practice and repetition have helped me attune physical and spatial awareness. Wobbling, falling, and learning to catch myself have made the brain to body connection a little more streamlined in the comfortable, familiar space of yoga.
Jiu Jitsu is a humbling reminder of what it feels like to be new at something, and it puts me in direct contention with that very human trait of seeing and then wanting to perform automatically. Unfortunately and fortunately, observing and doing are very different skills. Patience, practice, and repetition are necessary when it comes to body intelligence. The hours, days, and years of practice make up a worthwhile journey. I love the familiarity of my yoga practice but I also love the buzz and eagerness that comes with starting something brand new; being at the very beginning of a long, winding path.
Today I taught a yoga class, took a beginner level jiu jitsu class, and planned for an arm balancing workshop. The message for tomorrow's workshop crystallized when I sat down to plan - enjoy the journey and the focused attention that comes with learning something new. Practice, repeat.