T Nation

Lost Motivation

Anyway, here’s some background: I’ve been involved in grappling sports for 18 years. Primarily judo, but couple of years ago I started crosstraining in BJJ.

In the course of my career I’ve trained with broken ribs, fingers and toes, tore ligaments and tendons and had surgeries on both of my knees. I even kept my mouth shut about an ACL tear so I can compete in a national tournament. In short, motivation was never an issue for me. I attended training camps all over the world and competed and I cannot remember voluntarily slacking on the mat.

I turned 30 last month and the first signs of my lack of motivation showed up this summer at the last major judo tournament of the season in Italy. I got completely demolished in the first round. Usually, such trashings would cause me to start TUF-style tantrums, but that day I simply said to myself: “Awesome! I didn’t get injured. Now let’s get a pizza”.

After the new season started in September I started feeling very lacklustre on the mat. I begun fearing injuries. For example, I rolled with a huge “I want to train UFC” kid, a former shotputter. Usually, I would have demolished such an inexperienced big guy but that day I was playing it defensively, feeling glad when it was over.

For the past two weeks I cannot force myself to attend practice. I make up an excuse to myself to skip it. I still lift weights and bike as usual though. My girlfriend was shocked yesterday when 7 pm came and I wasn’t packing my gi. I told her “Well, there’s this great documentary about Genghis Khan on cable”. I couldn’t believe what I was saying.

I don’t know. I feel like changing schools - concentrating on BJJ for a while - mostly on techniques and some light rolling. Grappling arts have been such a big part of my life I feel I cannot abandon it.

Anyone been in a similar conundrum?

It sounds like you’ve had a really impressive run at it. I’m thinking you’re just a little burnt out. You’d think after 18 years you would have before now, but it happens to everyone. During those 18 years have you ever taken a break to just enjoy life and meditate on yourself. That’s sound kinda cheesy, but I know that I get that way with rugby and I just need to take some time off and rest.

Have you ever thought about teaching? It might give you that break you’re looking for with a chance to still be actively involved. It’s an option that I’m sure is open to a person of your caliber and experience so maybe it’s something you’d want to give a shot.

I can emphasize emotions run high about training. Its Pathos too.
sorry this is like a novel.

Im 37 played Judo as a kid, through HS,
wrestled in HS then jr.college, then the Big show Div I went to a clinic in colorado at the OTC and got invited back to be a training Dummy for the 1992 greco team.
So this is 30+ hours a week for years- and its hard to let go.

these are a few things that helped

Big injuries kind of put a halt on continuing to compete. Neck health really made me a recreational player at best.

Not being around people who live in the sport
who are still training.

learning to put harness the work ethic
and turn it to personal and work life.
Hard work is rewarded, at home, at work,
and in your dating or marriage.

Letting go of not training or competing was hard.
I miss it all, even the ugly parts.
maybe I miss the fortitude the ugly parts
gave me.
cutting weight, hoping tape and a bottle of
ibuprofen will get you through the week are still nostalgia to me.
Also realizing that my efforts
where not in vain not every one can reach the top. the Trips to the OTC helped me more than I ever thought

It gave my ego a boost, but also showed me
that I was not going to make it that way and needed an exit strategy. And that is was OK to have people better than you.

Its pathos- or nostalgia for it all.
I cant watch the olympics getting worked up
into an all out I need to train frenzy or
to near tears…

and its the apathy of what my peers family wife sometimes have- for what I love to do.

Getting rid of gear
I no longer have a hockey bag with Gi’s
headgear, jocks, tape ,wrestling shoes,
I go when I do go to a school that provides
generic Gis ,
its awesome to roll in a borrowed mismatched Gi. with a white belt on.
I am unknown,unranked and its nice.
this goes hand in hand with spending less time with people who mega train- or live to train. while I just live.

Filling the time
what to do with the time, I have hobbies
a social life and an awesome wife.

Finding joy in training.
It feels nice to get to put put up some halfway decent numbers once in a while
and rolling now is like being a sleeping giant… can muscle memory help me survive.

coming here, well there are a ton of expressive people with some fresh ideas on training that are cool to explore.
and some people who are funny too.

Dave Tate wrote some really cool shit on leaving his sport of power lifting as a competitor and about life.

this one is cached for some reason

Here is a vid of a seminar the elite fitness team gave this one is on sucess.

sorry this was so long…


the link for the Dave Tate article is broken…
just google

otherwise Date Tate.


I went through this earlier this year. I think what happens is we put so much into this sport that it’s almost inevitable that at some point our body is going to shut down and revolt against it.

I mean think about it, we are pushing ourselves to the limite not only in tournaments but 3-5 times a week in practice as well. At some point, your body just needs a break.

Maybe take a little time off, get your mind right and if you feel the desire to train again, do it. If not, it’s OK. You’re not a pro fighter so don’t feel like you have to train; only do it if you want to.

I switched from BJJ to Kenpo recently and that has given me new motivation.

Time off…some new training partners…learn some new and flashier techniques and work towards nailing those rather than just winning

I’ve been there Loppar. Everything Kmcnyc said times two.

I think you’ve got the right idea, trying some BJJ for awhile. For me, I found no-gi stuff really got me interested again as I really enjoy integrating my judo throws into it (which came naturally to me surprisingly, probably from my early sombo background). You might like catch wrestling too if there’s something like that going on near you.

I also fell into into the coaching side of things (first in the MMA scene, then judo), and now looking back, I think that this is kind-of the natural progression of what we do, evolving from competitor to coach. At least that’s how it’s been for me. Maybe give it a try.

I like how Kmcnyc said it, “Finding joy in training.” That’s where I’m at now.