Jiu Jitsu forges friendships in a way I’ve never known. Being involved in an art as intimate as this, where bodily connection is a must, the common cultural boundaries of personal space are broken. You will never see more hugs, high fives, and physical expressions of love than on the mats. Ultimately, this proves to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of our pursuit of mastery. Along the way, we learn to love others as we love ourselves.
Through Jiu Jitsu I have developed many of the most meaningful relationships in my life, and if that were the only benefit of my practice, Jiu Jitsu would still be the best endeavor I have ever undertaken.
Relationships formed through Jiu Jitsu are deeply rooted in respect for one another, and this is often not the case in matters of modern society.
Jiu Jitsu provides a place of fellowship that, unfortunately, our society has largely failed to create.
It is fellowship, this most fundamental need on our way toward achieving our highest expression of the human experience, which Jiu Jitsu provides.
This is the opportunity the fellowship of Jiu Jitsu affords us. To reach our highest potential of self, and then to offer that self to another.
We seek to understand Jiu Jitsu as a vehicle to understand ourselves. We have different explicit goals, from getting in shape, learning self-defense or competition, but tacitly we all seek mastery of ourselves.
Jiu Jitsu is meant to serve us, not the other way around. It is meant to make you more of whatever it is you already are. It is meant to separate the wheat from the chaff. It is meant to bring to conscious attention all that once went unseen. It is meant to make you more loving. It is meant to make you more wise, but less certain. It is meant to make us humble, yet supremely confident. It is meant to remind us of our frailty while simultaneously making us feel invincible.
If Jiu Jitsu does not make you a better father, son, mother, daughter, wife or husband, you are missing the point. If Jiu Jitsu does not leave you viewing strangers in a kinder light, you are missing the point. If you are not better equipped to deal with the vicissitudes of life due to your training, then you are not really training.
Jiu Jitsu has shown me that we are not confined to the lot which we inherit. We are not bound to these fetters eternally. They are temporal. We can transcend them should we sincerely choose to. Sincere effort is in fact the rarest virtue among man.
I wanted to get to the most essential aspect of my being, and look around for a while. I wanted to explore what I am in my most basic self. I wanted to chip away at all of the nonsense I have acquired through my twenty-nine years on this earth. I wanted to find truth. Thoreau went to the woods. I went to the mats. Jiu Jitsu has peeled the veil of daily life, and has shown me what lies beyond the curtain. We willingly accept the chains that circumstance forces upon us, and we grow to find comfort in them. We attach various fetters of day-to-day living to our being, and we do so with a smile. We accept these constraints for they come in the way of comfort. We accept conformity for it appears the path of least resistance. We strive toward the middle, and we run from ourselves.
I have seen far by seeing through the lens of Jiu Jitsu. I have exchanged a great deal of physical health for these insights, and these were trades worth making. My efforts were worth the return. I have sacrificed much in the name of this craft. Not for trophies or belts or prestige. For these fall away like dust. I pursued this art so fervently because it was not actually Jiu Jitsu I pursued. It was myself.
Jiu Jitsu can be a source of total transparency such as a mirror, but it takes a conscious choice to see what it has to say.
I can think of no more worthwhile aim than pursuing mastery in this craft while transcending one's own limitations.
By becoming a black belt, you will become whatever it is you wanted to be in the first place, and Jiu Jitsu will have served its aim.
Any advanced student will tell you the best way to recover guard is simply not to get your guard passed in the first place.
Imagine a true master of the art, someone with complete skill in every aspect of Jiu Jitsu. This master would not force anything. He would simply allow the roll to take whatever form it does, and in every position would act in the most efficient way based off what the circumstance dictates, and not what he himself prefers.
It appears, at least from my perspective, that each and every position in Jiu Jitsu regardless of the seeming complexity is really governed by no more than a handful of minimum viable products. Pursue to understand these essentials, and you will see that complexity is a myth perpetuated by lack of understanding, and it is this understanding which is possible for each of us.
Have a clear-cut plan on what you wish to improve, and seek opportunities to improve it. The more conscious and honest we can be about our shortcomings, the more strength we will have to improve them. We are going to train hard anyway, we are not going to sweat any more or less. It is simply imperative that the sweat is properly directed.