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It's OK to Be Scared

It’s OK to be scared.

My experience with BJJ differs from most of my peers as I had the luxury of starting BJJ in the comfort of my own home. My husband was my very first instructor (we’ll call him the “Prof”) and I also had the luxury of running upstairs to check on my baby whenever I wanted.

I was visiting my family in a different province some years ago and decided to attend an evening class at a nearby academy.

As we drove to the academy, I was excited to get on the mats and experience a class as a student rather than an academy owner for a change, however as soon as I walked in I felt jitters. I felt like I didn’t belong even though I had a coloured belt around my waist. Even though I spoke and understood the language of Jiu Jitsu, I felt a rush of fear. I was afraid of offending someone by not following a gym rule (every gym will have specific rules). I felt awkward and I wanted to run out of there as soon as I stepped inside. I remember looking in the change room mirror and telling myself that I wasn't going to leave. That I was going to go on those mats, introduce myself to at least 3 people and act as though I belonged.

It dawned on me in that moment that I finally got to feel what most new people who attend my academy feel.

To my immediate surprise, the Head Professor was incredibly friendly and welcoming (we still pop into his gym whenever we’re in town), however the jitters remained well into the warm up and into the lesson as well.

To anyone who is thinking about trying out BJJ for the very first time, I FEEL YOU. I get it. I can see the look of apprehensiveness on your face when you walk in. You feel as though you made a huge mistake. That rush of adrenaline, that queasy feeling in your stomach, I GET IT. You put on a rental Gi and you feel all out of sorts. I SEE YOU. You pretend to understand what the instructor is saying but deep down you’re trying to make sense of it in your mind.

Girl I get you.

I get you and I’m here to help you. Always keep in mind that we ALL started as white belts and we ALL made the same mistakes. We ALL felt the same fear and anxiety that you are currently feeling. We all felt out of place.

Remember that you are not in the wrong place. You belong on the mats. It is YOUR space. Make all the mistakes and have fun fixing them.

If you are fearful, know that fear is part of BJJ. No one walks onto the mats expecting to defend a choke without fear. That fear will turn into thrill, and you'll look forward to the opportunity of playing defensive and offensive BJJ as you delve deep into your BJJ journey. Embrace it.

“It’s OK to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave”




Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Zenab! I hope you enjoy reading about my musings in the world of entrepreneurship as I navigate reaching my Jiu Jitsu goals while helping other women achieve theirs. 

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