It’s almost a decade since I first came into contact with Brazilian jiu jitsu. My intention when I first stepped into SPMA Concord was to do MMA. First step in that process was a compulsory 3 months of jiu jitsu, and muay thai.
I had watched Kenny Florian use a closed guard in the Ultimate Fighter, so I thought I’d be sweet. But when sparring time came around, my new friends would make me tap more than a dancer on Broadway. I was intrigued.
Day after day, I’d show up to the gym, desperate to improve. I’d research moves, and drill techniques, and studiously journal my progress. I travelled the world in search of the best practitioners and academies. I even deferred uni because all I wanted to do was jiu jitsu.
Infidels called me obsessed. My mum cried cult. I called it passion. And it felt better than anything ever before.
Life happens. Things change. And still, almost 10 years on, I realise more and more that it’s not just my life that is jiu jitsu - it gets deeper:
Jiu jitsu IS life itself.
The more I train, the more I understand that the lessons we encounter in jiu jitsu are reminiscent of those in everyday living. A sweep will only work when the time is right. Just as an opportunity is only that if the timing is on point.
Nothing in jiu jitsu is ever stationary. A knowledgeable opponent will always look for space. What’s equally certain is that life never ceases to change either. The world moves on and on, ready or not. Either you improve on your position or you lose it. You evolve, or you become stale.
Sometimes things will work out, and sometimes they won’t. Either way, you show up. Slowly but surely, amongst the smelly gis, injuries, frustration, and elation, jiu jitsu begins to unfold. Meeting force with force is not the way. This is nature. Tao. Zen. With each class, you understand this just a little more.
Higher Jiu Jitsu was born from my desire to facilitate an environment conducive to a deeper understanding of our art. Technique, drills, and rolls are ubiquitous. Our scope of learning goes way beyond this. Jiu jitsu demands so much more.
Observing our clients thinking, feeling, and sensing their movements makes me happiest. Seeing my friends improve with every class that we bow into is a dream that constantly manifests into reality. Hearing that our session of jiu jitsu made someone's day brighter is the reason I do this.
It's been a long road to get to this point. And it's only just beginning. The search for quality is insatiable. Every day I endeavour to do this better, and better. Because in jiu jitsu, there is no perfection, only endless refinement.
This is life itself, and always will be.