Those who can't very well don't teach very well
One more thought about not competing in the PanAms at the end of the month that I meant to pass along. It comes courtesy of my friend Natasha, who reminded me of a great saying by Dr. Seuss about being the person you want to be: Those who matter won't mind, and those who mind don't matter. It's a little bit of a different riff on something I heard Randy Couture say (and that I blogged about when I was freaking out before the competition in Turkey) about how the people who love him now will love him after a fight, whether he wins or loses.
I'm proud to say that Dr. Seuss and I share the same alma mater, though he graduated about 70 years before me. But he is kind of the quintessential graduate of this place: incredibly intelligent and witty while simultaneously irreverent and completely lacking in any sense of self importance. Don't get me wrong; there are lots of successful doctors, lawyers, robber barons and studio execs out there who went to my college, but somehow they maintain some humility, or at least some grasp on the reality that the world doesn't REALLY revolve around them. And I love Dr. Seuss also because he is obviously in touch with his childlike side. The more time I spend around kids, the more I realize how smart they are. They don't worry about a future they can't control, and they are oblivious to a past that no longer affects them. They are all about NOW, and that's where the fun is.
Anyway, the point is, I'm going to do what's right for me, remember that the people who love me now will love me regardless of whether I ever compete again, and also remember that although this decision is a huge one for me, probably not very many other people in the world are too worked up about it one way or another. So I can get off the topic now, please.
In other news, despite my best avoidance strategies, I am teaching jiu jitsu lately. This week, at least, because Johnny's out of town. One of many things that strikes me about teaching is that after years and years of being advised that it is important for me to drill moves and techniques until they are hammered into my muscle memory and I can execute them without thinking, now I have to explain, very explicitly and consciously, every step of these moves that I don't really have the vocabulary to explain. I mean, I know how to do them, but after all those years, I have gotten to the point where I just kind of do them and don't stop to think as much as I should about what I'm doing and why. Thinking about how to explain to somebody how to do them when they don't have that background, contextual knowledge that enables people with some grappling experience to communicate in shorthand makes my brain hurt. And I'm not that great at it. I have gotten better, but I really shudder to think that maybe I'm giving or omitting some details that a student will then have to work hard to compensate for, once Johnny, John, or Marcel realizes I screwed up.
Okay, it's not that bad. And yesterday people did seem to be getting the moves, in spite of me. But teaching grappling is yet another orientation on grappling, in addition to doing the moves myself and doing the moves myself in a competition situation. And I don't like teaching very much, though I don't know whether that is because I don't like it or because I don't think I'm very good at it. All I know is, Johnny comes back to town before I have to teach again. Hooray!