I was (very) informally practicing a fair amount of BJJ prior to my knee injury a couple of years ago. It involved some haphazard technique training and a lot of "learn as you go" rolling. I felt like a got pretty good at it. I could make most of my classmates tap -- sooner or later...
Was I really any good? That's hard to say. But I was in good shape fitness-wise, and I felt like I was successful.
Then I tore my ACL. I got surgery, and went right into rehab. I came back to martial arts and refocused on the Taijutsu. Mostly, this was because that was what was available. The school still sponsored the occasional BJJ session, but the opportunity was to train Taijutsu. It also took a long time for my knee to feel right. It's still not 100%. I've really pushed it the last week, and it's twinging a little.
In January, the dojo established a "real" BJJ program -- twice a week official classes that followed a curriculum, and the potential for belt ranking. I jumped and for the last six months, I've really been focusing on BJJ. I was a little disappointed at first because we had some completely new people in class, and the instructor wasn't ready to let us all roll.
He was probably right. Some of the new guys would've been destroyed and just gotten frustrated before leaving. But the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, we were finally allowed to roll.
Whoa. I really suck now.
Oh, I must've sucked before and just not known it. But I do feel like I've regressed. That Friday night, I rolled with four different folks. I tapped NONE of them, but I held my own against three of them. One of them is strong like a bull and just manhandled me like I was a UPS box shipped at Christmas. On the bright side, I was able to roll with four different people in three minute rounds (12 minutes total) and not gas out. So my fitness seems to be progressing well.
So, back to the studies. More conditioning, more drilling the movements, more rolling, and even more hitting the books. I want that blue belt.