By day, I work as a marketing specialist at a social media management company called Sprout Social in Chicago, Illinois. It's a swell, white-collar job that allows me to live decently as a young man in an expensive metropolis -- but the benefits that a white-collar lifestyle provides -- a lack of physical stress, duress, and danger -- are also its weaknesses. Indeed, we experience too low a level of physical exertion on an average daily basis.
Without citing social evolutionary pseudoneuroscience, I'll stand behind my belief that human males were not exactly optimized for this sedentary office lifestyle. I don't have too much evidence, but there are numerous studies that show how unhealthy the act of constant sitting for eight hours a day is in the long term.
At a personal level, if I don't exercise, I feel like beached whaleshit. Indeed, I've never gotten the people who can swear off exercise and say that they "just don't like it." Paraphrasing from some random guy's comment on Reddit, I find exercise to be like showering. Nah, I don't need to do it. But I sleep far better at night if I do. My confidence, my performance at work, my wit, among myriad other things, all rests on whether I get in consistent exercise.
This is why I'm really happy I joined Northside MMA under Ralph Gracie black belt Misho Ceko and began learning BJJ two weeks ago. It's given me a daily dose of dopaminergic, testosterone pumping exercise. And with the calorie-burning, I've found a new hobby that tests me both physically and mentally, a new goal -- get FAR better at grappling, and new friends (more awkward to find post-college, I might add).
Training BJJ has given me a new and fairly addictive routine that I look forward to going to.
It's all the more disappointing then that a couple of days ago, I noticed patches of red, itchy, flakey skin spreading across my face. Abnormal skin signals many possibilities -- none of it good -- ringworm, staph, herpes, allergies, etc. I was tempted to not tell anyone and keep training. After all, I didn't want to take time off right after I'd just started getting into a groove.
But ethically, I'd be a douchebag if I did that.
So begrudgingly, I've removed myself from rolling for at least the next couple of sessions and have started taking antibiotics.
For sure, I'll go back to BJJ as soon as I can. But this small incident has made me distinctly aware of all those little (and large) sacrifices that come with very pursuit and commitment. Despite maintaining and being aware of good hygiene practices, I know that I will face (no pun intended) more skin ailments in the future, should I stick with the sport. Potentially more serious ones. It'll be part of the array of challenges testing my dedication to the sport.
I hate falling behind and missing out on practice. That armbar from high mount that I was starting to get? I'll probably have to wait till the next go-around to commit that to my muscle memory. But for the time being, I'll have to remind myself that learning BJJ is a marathon and not a sprint.
And developing a case of staph would be a huge setback in this marathon.