Sunday I received my 3rd stripe. I am equal parts validated and intimidated.
I have studied. I am making improvements. I am embracing weak spots head on. I have put in the time.
But I also feel as though I don't yet represent the skill level I have associated in my mind with it. The potential is most certainly there, but I still feel as though I'm missing things. Aggression. Timing. Decisive choices while rolling.
Breaking out of the habits of simply defending non-stop is tricky. I still revert back to it. The habit has roots like a molar, though. It'll take time to rattle loose from it.
As I focus on certain positions, I still feel the tug of other positions. Distractions. Almost a sense of jealousy when I watch other grapplers working on something new. Or even something old.
Amidst certain angers towards less cooperative training partners I still seek out others to offer to work on their skills. Because in spite of more selfish training partners who are only there to "keep score", I still firmly believe one should work on the development and betterment of their training partners as much as their own. Pay it forward, in the sense that I'm investing time in others to make them better foils for my own progress.
If only all were of similar mind.