Scott Windley - Blue Belt Advice
What motivated you to start training BJJ?
Longtime MMA fan, not a fan of being punched in the face. BJJ seemed like a happy compromise. As a long term goal, I thought it would be funny to see if I could tap anyone out with pro wrestling moves in a real setting. I've checked a few off my list and yes, it is funny.
What advice would you give to beginners who are just starting their BJJ journey?
Embrace the suck. You are going to be very bad for a long time. Recognising the little victories for yourself are key - whether it's only being submitted 8 times in a roll rather than the usual 9, or successfully hitting the move of the day.
What motivated you to continue training BJJ, even when it was challenging or frustrating?
Pure spite. Mostly at my own incompetence.
Did you ever experience any significant injuries during your BJJ journey, and if so, how did you deal with them and continue to train?
Nothing too major - dislocated my thumb a couple of times, and broke a tooth (wear your mouth guard folks). If you're coming back from an injury then train with people you trust and explain the situation. Lately I've been asking people to not Americana me because I've had tennis elbow flare up (and definitely not because I am bad at defending them)
Were there any specific training partners who played a significant role in your development as a BJJ practitioner?
Reece (If you're reading this, I hope you're getting fat now) and Tony, for both letting me work my stuff, and also smashing me when I need it. The latter happens far more often lately. Currently, all the other blue belts who give me hell every session. Iron sharpening iron and all that.
How has BJJ impacted your life outside of the gym, and what benefits have you seen from your continued practice?
Overall, BJJ has been great for my mental health. I've also made a lot of good friendships from training at GSW. And my laundry skills are now top notch.
How did you balance training BJJ with other commitments in your life, such as work or family?
For a while I wasn't able to train consistently because of my work hours. Decided I liked BJJ more than that job so I found a new one.
Did you ever go through a period where you felt like you weren't improving or plateaued in your BJJ journey, and if so, how did you push through it?
I found I was doing the same guard pass, into the same sub, over and over again - with good results but things got a bit stagnant. Put those on the blacklist for a while and branched out for new techniques and figured out what bits were right for me to make it enjoyable again.
Were there any particular techniques or concepts that you struggled with as a white belt, and how did you overcome those challenges?
Drill drill drill. In general my guard was terrible, and through the power of drilling, now it is merely awful.
What role did competition play in your BJJ journey, and how did you approach preparing for and competing in tournaments?
Did one competition as a baby white belt. Didn't prepare for it seriously and lost both matches in under a minute, unsurprisingly. Not sure competing again will ever really be my thing but I am 100% keen to do competition rounds with anyone who is preparing for their own competition.
Looking back on your journey, is there anything you wish you had done differently or advice you would give to your younger self starting out in BJJ?
The only thing is that I really wish I'd been more consistent - all the stop/start bullshit I did means it took 6 years to get my blue belt. Every time I'd resurface after months/years without showing up I'd be welcomed back with open arms - and a few lighthearted "where the fuck have you been?" comments - so younger me had a lot of anxiety about that for no reason too.
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