So, this isn’t the “traditional” blue belt blues, but I’m a blue belt, and this is how I feel, so here goes.
tl;dr- Keep training at my current gym 30 minutes away from home and not train as often, or switch gyms to one that’s closer to home and train more, but leave my team?
I recently saw a picture of one of my training partners get promoted to purple belt. We’ve been training about the same amount of time (he had some on-and-off time for about a year or two before I started, but got serious around when I started). Lately, my work schedule and my desire to keep my health in check have made me less able to make it in to train as often. I’m by no means in poor health, but am trying to stay healthy for work (I work between 50-70 hours a week). These hours will last for another month, then I’ll resume a more manageable 40/week. And, I’ll be honest, there are some days where I’m just too tired to make the drive. I know this is a crappy excuse, but it is what it is. I drive a half hour to train; there are some gyms that are much closer to me, but this place really made me feel like I was welcome. The instructor is incredible, the people are like a family. The drive was never an issue when I was working less, but now it’s really making it difficult. I don’t feel like I have balance in my life. And, not going to lie, seeing him with that purple on his waist was kind of disheartening for me; I know that if I had made it as consistently as he has, I would be right there with him. As of now I know I have at least another year at blue. I’m not complaining, but it does hurt knowing where I could be right now.
Now, for the first time, I’m seriously considering if I should train somewhere closer. I have switched gyms once before, but that was because I moved hundred of miles away. If it wasn’t for that, I would have stayed where I was. I know there are some good places near me, but I love where I train now. I was there when they moved to a bigger location, I’ve grown really close with a lot of the higher belts, feel like I’ve helped a lot of the new white belts. But, what good is all of that if I’m not there? And, there’s a gym that’s a 5 minute drive/15 minute walk away from my house. I see it at least once a week when I drive by to go shopping, and every time I think about how much more I could train if I was there, not where I am now. But, the downfall is that I know this gym charges for promotions. My current instructor promotes us when we can finally start beating others at our current belt, and start holding our own against higher belts.
I love jiu jitsu. It gives me a great personal outlet after a long day at work. But what good is it if I can’t make it to train? I’ve trained 3 times, maybe 4, in the last two months, when I would normally go 3 to 4 times per week with a normal work schedule. I know I’ll have more time after this month is over, but what happens after that when next Fall gets busy? Plus I would save a ton of money on gas. But, my team is talking about having me help them create an instructor’s curriculum, and they’ve asked me to help if they ever run an in-house tournament for the kids.
I’m looking forward to all of your advice. I’m sure at least one of you has been in a similar situation, and can offer your story to help me sort this out.