That is how I feel about earning this white/blue belt. To me, it is still a white belt. It is a belt put in to say that, "You're almost there!". I earned it after taking part in American Top Team Savage's Rodrigo Gracie seminar. Three hours each day, Saturday and Sunday. As the seminar ended, they called names for belts to be promoted and I was surprised to here my name. "Johnny, who soon will be in Thailand", Eric called out. Bitter sweet fit the feeling of that moment perfectly. I have been struggling with my "relationship" with this gym for a while as most of the time I come home unhappy wanting to quit. Also, my plans for Thailand in January have been postponed indefinitely. I smiled and accepted the belt.
At Grappler's Retreat, I realized part of my issue with the gym was my ego but another part was the many injuries and issues I've faced at this gym. Mostly my own ego. Impatience has caused me to lose sight of what I'm working for. Year one in Minnesota was all about earning as much money as possible. I did, and I worked grueling hours. Now I've worked my way out of that position into something more comfortable so I've switched my focus to training. Slowly, I go to class more and more. I lift more and more weights. And I run, more and more. You could call my second year in Minnesota "transition". The start of the third year approaches and I will compete in BJJ and Sanda. Training and experience are the currency I will accumulate next year.
We learned a lot at the Seminar. Side Control windshield wiper choke, Side Control leg over head into Kimura choke, triangle choke from guard, triangle flip from guard, De La Rivera hip push, and guillotine chokes as well. That was just today alone. Rodrigo was a good teacher and in just a short amount of time he explained many details. While practicing, he would walk around correcting every single person. It was nice and it gave me a feeling similar to the Grappler's Retreat camp except that we learned a lot more moves, which is good or bad depending on who you ask.
Just mixed feelings.