Jiu Jitsu opened up doors in my mind that public education had bolted shut. In hindsight, I see just how superficial my thoughts had been prior to this art. It is no coincidence that my efforts in reading and writing have run parallel with this craft. I began training Jiu Jitsu at twenty-two, and at the time of this writing I am about to turn thirty. I have learned more in the past eight years than the previous twenty-two, and have no doubts that Jiu Jitsu opened up my mind in a way traditional organized education never could. Jiu Jitsu gave me a life when I didn't know how to live. It is the best thing I have ever done, and is the foundation upon which all I will do.
Jiu Jitsu has given me an education in education, which I now see is the most valuable education there is.
Jiu Jitsu uses us to express itself, and the best thing we can do to is to become a vehicle capable of expressing Jiu Jitsu with all of its perfection minus our imperfections.
When you realize you are no longer made of glass, you lose the desire to demonstrate that fragility in others.
The major events in our lives receive the entire spotlight, but ultimately your life will be defined by the same handful of choices you make each day.
As an instructor, my goal has always been to use Jiu Jitsu as a vehicle to help our students achieve their goals, whatever the case may be. I have yet to find a better vehicle for growth, and the moment I do I will certainly pursue it with the rivaled fervor that I approached Jiu Jitsu.
I am a better son, brother, friend, and teacher because of the daily sacrifice and effort I put toward my craft. WIth all the advantages modern society has created, it has left us wanting. We no longer need to struggle to survive. Our basic needs are now met with minimal physical strife or mental challenge. Technology and the advances of man have left us over-stressed and under-performing. We are now forced to actively pursue our struggles. If we do not go out of our way to stretch our comfort zones and grow, no one nor nature will do it for us.
Devoting yourself to a particular art is invaluable. The art becomes our vehicle with which we drive down the road of life. We use this vehicle to learn about ourselves and this place, to conquer fears, to become more of what we already are. In my own life, I have found most valuable the transferable skills of learning from jiu jitsu to all other facets of day to day study. In devoting myself with such commitment to this art, in undertaking the task of understanding jiu jitsu to whatever degree by circumstance allows, I have unknowingly learned how to learn.
There is no more valuable skill than studentship. The farther we go down one area of human understanding, the more we see the corollaries that all activities share. Everything I do for the rest of my life, all the skills I acquire, will be made possible because of my time spent on the mats. It has revealed a symbiosis between all things that I never knew existed.
Jiu Jitsu gives each of us something that no other sport can. We have the opportunity to become truly great regardless of what circumstance fate has handed us. We have complete freedom and responsibility to achieve whatever level of mastery we wish.
Do not seek victory, for victory in itself will not serve you. Seek to understand what made the victory possible.
An arm bar in a vacuum is worthless. It is the realization of the truths which constitute that arm bar that is the real treasure we seek.
The infinitude of Jiu Jitsu allows for the infinitude of the types of practitioners. There exists a game for each and every one of us which is specifically possible within the confines of our particular skill set.
For the sincere student, it mustn't be enough to simply understand Jiu Jitsu. We must seek to understand ourselves.
I believe that which you study is only matched in importance by the sincerity with which you approach it.
There is no concrete way to play Jiu Jitsu, and this is why so many different types of people find joy in it.
I use my understanding of jiu jitsu as a road map to learn other activities. I look for the similarities between the two, and use jiu jitsu as an allegory for whatever my new practice may be. I truly believe once you have learned one thing, you have learned all things because you have learned how to learn.
I train jiu jitsu because I love jiu jitsu. But I also train knowing that my practice in this art will allow me better practice in any art. If you have learned one thing, you have learned all things, because you have learned how to learn. I can think of no more worthwhile pursuit of education.
This is a trust that you just cannot find in modern society for there are no conditions to forge it.
The medal from an old grappling tournament will not serve me today, but the courage I developed in its acquisition will. By investing in yourself, by using all endeavors as a vehicle to shape who we are, we exist in the present moment with a lifetime of growth behind us. I have loved many vehicles throughout the years, Jiu Jitsu more than any other, but the vehicle has, and always will, be a distant second to the driver.
On the other side of self-doubt comes a confidence from faith in the process. Even though our destination may be a long way off, each day we rise with a subtle smile as if we have already achieved it, because, when we are truly committed to a task, we already have.
Jiu Jitsu is a baptism by combat, and serves a purpose in the inner life of the individual that has always existed, but our modern culture fails to acknowledge.
Plateaus are a manifestation of the law of diminishing returns, and when we reach one it simply means that it is time to adjust our methods.
After I received my blue belt, I soon recognized that the belts were simply an external representation of an inner experience, and that they mattered little compared to the person I was becoming.
The road from white belt to black is long and arduous; most never reach the end. There are simply too many obstacles of daily life, and too much effort and attention required, for this to be something that the majority of practitioners achieve. This is why a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, especially from a reputable source, is the pinnacle of martial arts rank. It is valuable because of what must be traded for its achievement.
Many of us begin this art with little to no understanding of what we are getting ourselves into. Then, maybe a year or a black belt later, we realize this odyssey we have embarked upon and rest happily in knowing we have chosen a noble struggle.I think we owe most of our successes to our initial ignorance. When we begin, we cannot see the obstacles ahead, and so we march on optimistically. In hindsight, when we look back and connect the dots, we see just how green we were at the start, and it was only our ignorance that upheld us from the crushing despair of the task at hand.
There is no higher calling than service to your fellow man, and to do so through your own personal mastery of a craft is a gift enjoyed by few. Cultivate this gift, and give it away.
Jiu Jitsu is a vehicle for self-discovery and growth. It reminds me of my ego, of my insecurities, and of my shortcomings.
I train Jiu Jitsu because I recognize that I am a piece of the whole, and as I grow so does that which contains me. The whole of man advances with the growth of a single individual. Every life I influence is benefited from the fact that I have devoted such a large portion of my life to this pursuit. I will be a better husband, father, and whatever other future roles I may hold because of my time in this sport. In making me a better man, I know that society as a whole is improved.
Jiu Jitsu gives me an ideal to strive toward. Technical mastery lies on an infinite continuum and completion of this skill is impossible. Every time I train I have something that I can improve upon, and this will hold true for each and every training session that lies between me and my grave.
I would more appropriately define mastery as the technical ability possible within the constraints of your particular existence. It must be noted that this is a subjective definition, and that this degree of mastery would be individual to each of us.
Jiu Jitsu has given me something to pursue. We all need something to work towards. For people, as well as every piece of matter in the universe, there is no such thing as maintenance. If you are not growing you are decaying. The insidious nature of modern times is that it is so easy not to pursue anything. Societal norms pressure us into jobs we do not like, and the daily comforts of televisions and computers offer much in the way of distraction. If that isn't enough, there is always the numbing effects of alcohol coupled with attention-grabbing sporting events which conveniently run year round so one is never short of stimulus.
Today's world is flooded with participation trophies. In an attempt to promote equality we have robbed our youth of the most growth-inducing aspect of competition, failing. If you want to be resurrected, you have to first be crucified. Everybody wants to be reborn, but no one is willing to die. Losing, in the context of whatever arena it may be, is a microcosmic death. When we learn from our failures and grow because of them, we are reborn.
The high-minded pursuit of a Jiu Jitsu practitioner pursuing mastery cannot coexist well with the modern world. Our values vary immensely from our contemporaries. This pursuit leaves societal norms slaughtered in our wake. Those who share this journey will praise our efforts, those in the hive will think we have lost it. We must be willing to be misunderstood if we are to understand ourselves.
We can either approach Jiu Jitsu through the lens of the real world or we can approach the real world through the lens of Jiu Jitsu. I have found the latter to be far more rewarding.
We have an obligation to ourselves to foster the environment that allows for our self-actualization. Rather than my gifts serving me, I must serve them. I want to be a steward of the best aspects of my character and assist them in their fulfillment through proper discipline and habits.