I want to address a specific change in the definition and experience of pain since I started to practice BJJ. It is likely that if you’ve read one of my previous posts you know already that BJJ is the thing I love most. In order to practice BJJ, I need my body to be (more or less) in its optimal physical state. Training is never completely safe, and injuries are one of the most frequent and inevitable threats to my body’s physical ability. Before I started to train, I experienced pain mainly as a function of subjective feeling. Now I experience pain as a function of its association with potential injury and the degree of that injury.
The most important thing for me about pain is its implication to my future training. Pain that is not associated with any injury is now experienced as neutral, or even as pleasant if it means that I succeeded in performing a specific technique. Pain that is associated with potential injury that is very mild and that from my past experience will not interfere with my training routine (for example, poorly executed arm bar) is more unpleasant, but it soon dissipates from my consciousness altogether. When it comes to intense pain, its experience depends very much on my ability to train “around” the injury. If I can train “around” it, the pain loses its intensity and effect on my mood. If I suspect that the pain will damage my training routine, it effects me so much that I get depressed.
P.S. Since I started practicing martial arts, I developed some connections with others who have walked the path before me, and their emotional and practical support is especially valuable to me in coping with injuries. I wish to thank them for their support.