09: The case for excuses.

Anton Keith
4 min readFeb 14, 2020


“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame someone else.” — John Burroughs

Have you started walking yet? If you haven’t, there is probably an excuse that you are leaning on. Tired? Uninformed? No time? All of these are good reasons not to move at a good pace, but they most certainly aren’t excuses.

Today I want to share a little about the time between 2016–2019. I was rehabbed from all of my “physical” injuries, and I was returning back to duty on a “light duty” status. Shifts were long. 12.5 hours long to be exact. For the majority of that time, I was confined to a steel prison. A “control center” for all the operations of the jail. A small room filled with every key of the jail and computers able to lock and unlock every cell. It was like a jail inside the jail and I was the only inmate, but instead of rec time, tv watching and gambling with sweets, I had to monitor every single person inside the jail and every outsider coming in. I was strictly forbidden from leaving that room, by command staff and my Cardiologist. The threat of violence concerned all involved, but it was the only way I could continue earning money until the investigation surrounding my Sudden Death Syndrome was completed.
It was these days that I was introduced to a new challenge, PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Now, most people think that the only people who can suffer from PTSD are combat veterans or people who have been victims of some sort of physical/mental violence, but they would be wrong. Any traumatic event can trigger PTSD and I was about to learn this the hard way. Though I suffered both a heart attack and a stroke, I don’t recall the actual event. My body definitely does.

After every shift, as soon as I climbed into my truck, I had intense pressure in the back of my head. Have you ever been somewhere and you have put on a helmet for safety, but the first one you tried was too small and it hurt your head? Kinda like that, but it lasted for hours. When I got home, it was hard to focus, hard to give my family the kind of attention they deserved and that was a problem for everyone. The hardest part was finding the trigger. The hours, the nature of the position? The commute? Who knows, but it lasted for the entire year until I formally retired in December. I thought that with that job gone, surely the PTSD would leave, right? Nope.

When I decided to return to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it was a decision that was not taken lightly. I had to convince my family, my doctors and myself. The first two were sort of easy, but convincing PTSD that I would be okay was another story. For the next year and a half, I would walk into the academy, hug friends, chat with a few old training partners and attempt to watch a few classes. About 20 minutes into class, PTSD would show up. That same intense head pain, as well as nausea, would show up and I would quietly sneak out of class, sit in my car and sob for no reason. Eventually, I gave up trying to rejoin, thinking I couldn’t overcome PTSD.

Fast forward to 2020. I have been training consistently for a year now. What changed? My attitude. I have PTSD. There is no way around that. Recently, I even had a PTSD episode doing laser tag. ( Another post for another day) That does not change the fact that I’m here and if I’m here, I can walk. Maybe part of me didn’t want to accept the fact that PTSD is something that I may struggle with for the rest of my life, but it’s “my struggle”. Once I accepted that it was a part of me, it stopped being an excuse. I learned many things during the past year. I learned that it’s okay to walk at my own pace. I have to be careful with my body because of the current medications I use. That’s the opposite of what my EGO wants to do, so I consciously have to slow myself down during training to make sure I don’t get out of control. I learned that when people see you struggling to walk forward, they want to help you. All of my teammates have embraced my Jiu Jitsu journey. I think that part of my PTSD with training was that I believed that people can’t really express themselves while training with me. While my normal training partners are used to my training style, new partners can be a challenge. So, I humble myself, explain to my new training partners my situation and so far, it’s been all positive.

I’ve shared all of this because I want you to examine your own situation. What’s holding you back? A physical issue? Can you do something about it? Is it mental? Can it be treated? If so, then try? Or think about it like this. You have seen how you feel not moving, not in control, not happy, so you know how you will feel if you continue down this path. Probably worse. Well, what about if you decide to walk? Will it be difficult to walk? Yes, it will. Will it be worth it? Most definitely.

Until next blog. Keep walking.

“It is wise to direct your anger toward problems — not people, to focus your energies on answers — not people.”- William Arthur Ward




Anton Keith

Detroit native now living in Northern Virginia. Self Love, Self Defense, and Self Reflection. Let’s talk.