Ever wondered about what the most badass musicians are doing in their spare time? Check out our inaugural Metal AF, this first with the incredibly well-spoken physician and front-man of Florida based Alt-Rock band PHARMACOSE, Wes Jones, who outlines his parralel journey with creating music and kicking ass, all while practicing medicine during a worldwide pandemic, and that’s metal af.
Although there are a number of reasons why someone would want to get into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), self-defense is probably the most common. After all, that is the primary goal of BJJ. It’s the reason I got into it in 2017. But, there are other forms of self-defense that are easier to learn and possibly even more effective, and BJJ training is challenging. It is strenuous, and it can be a complete ego check when one first starts his or her journey. The truth is that no one likes to be manhandled. It’s humiliating. I remember one day in particular that I was tapping out time after time and felt like I was the worst person to have ever started training. I almost burst into tears when I got to my car. I felt like it was hopeless, and I just did not have what it took. I came very close to quitting entirely. Why then would I keep training in something that seems so awful? I did not have a good answer at the time, but luckily, I have friends and an extremely supportive mentor, Coach Elijah, who told me to just keep coming back, so I did.
It was the right decision. Soon enough I saw some progress. I still wasn’t great, but I could keep up, and I wasn’t a total pushover. But, as cool as it is to see that kind of progress on the mats, that’s not where the real progress lies. The real progress is in personal development. I became more disciplined, calmer, and much less anxious. For some reason, knowing that you are no longer physically vulnerable carries over into all aspects of your life, even those situations where there never was a physical threat. It makes you less timid. But where it has helped me the most is it has given me grit. Recently I was sparring with a training partner, and as I was trying to pass his guard, I lost my balance and ended up in a bad situation. He had me in a reverse triangle choke, but he couldn’t quite get it locked in all the way. It was still very uncomfortable. I couldn’t see anything because my face was on the mat, and it was a bit hard to breathe. Despite the choke not being fully applied, I probably would have tapped if this had happened years ago just because I was anxious and claustrophobic, but this time I knew he didn’t have it and he wasn’t going to get it. So, I just relaxed and waited for him to tire himself out a bit. Once he did, I got out, recovered, and almost tapped him before time ran out in the round.
I am by no means a badass. I have a long way to go in both music and BJJ before I would be able to call myself “successful” in either pursuit. I say all this because my biggest lesson learned is that I now firmly believe that we should never give up on our goals if we are scared or anxious. We must persevere, and we should only give up if the choke is fully locked in.
Check out PHARMACOSE’S excellent new album, Prescription Fiction and follow PHARMACOSE online!