Your First Provincials

It used to be we novices would beg, borrow, steal rides to get to provincials. Nothing stopped us, even when we had to go from Kingston to Peterborough in under an hour because a certain someone forgot their record book and we were scared we'd upset the late Shihan Graham!

At least, that's the way we fondly remember it. After some more thorough reminiscing it appears many of us senior belts and instructors didn't actually attend until we had several years of training under our belts.

So, I asked a the lone novice from Hart House - the one who looked nervous at first but by the end of the weekend was rocking her way into a semi-final match in the ne-waza competition and had more friends than I did - if she would regale you fine, tentative people with her story. 

Here it is!

I’ve only been training in Jiu Jitsu for 8 weeks. The thought of going to Provincials terrified me. At first I didn’t even think it was something I could do. Training with so many grades and senseis so soon sounded very intimidating. However, as I talked to my fellow jitsuka at the Hart House Club they reassured me it would be an experience I would not regret.

And they were right!

In that one weekend in Kingston I learned more about Jiu Jitsu than I have in my previous 8 weeks of training. I learned something about the history, motivation and meaning behind the martial art and this made me more determined than ever to do my best during training.

Jitsu is a community, and very much like a family, looking out for one another and working hard together. I struggled at first when learning new techniques – I was exposed to so many I had never seen before – but no one hesitated to help me out and make me feel included. I was told by several people that everyone started somewhere and it is not about being good right away but learning proper technique at your own pace. I felt honoured to train with so many senseis, each of whom brought their own unique and interesting lesson.

I made so many friends. I thought that I would feel left out, not only in my lack of jitsu knowledge and skill, but also as a newcomer to the community. Yet everyone was very excited to meet and chat with me. I stayed the night with two students from the Ottawa club and we became friends instantly – they even told me to come visit them in Ottawa any time. The social night was not intimidating, even if you are a shy person like I am. Everyone was so friendly with one another and I have come home with a few inside jokes…

It was a tiring weekend, and I have a few bruises, but it was definitely worth it. I even ended up participating in the optional competition and at first I was extremely nervous. But everyone cheers you on and tries to give you advice during your bout. You get this incredible feeling when you are able to take that advice and apply your training in a match. Winning didn’t matter; everyone was just having a great time showing their Jiu Jitsu.

At the end of the weekend not only did my Jiu Jitsu improve tremendously, my motivation and confidence increased as well. I learned that often jitsu is about intent, and I’m now able to better focus on my technique and not hesitate during training. I was worried that Provincials would discourage me but the opposite happened and now I want to continue with Jiu Jitsu even more than I did before.
— Anastasia