Know Thyself: The Essential Jiu Jitsu Journey

I was a discontented teen. I needed to decide what I wanted to do with my life. There was a burning passion, but there was also conflicting advice from all directions. Then I stumbled upon an ancient Greek quote: “Know Thyself”.

I was enthralled, perhaps because it was for the first time that I was given the permission to explore within. Soon after, jiu jitsu came about, and life was never the same. 

 

Study Yourself


You decided to don the gi and take part in this journey. You make your way to jiu jitsu class, you tie your belt, and you train for hours. It’s your neck that’s on the line, and it’s your limbs that are sought. 

You feel the pressure of your opponent on top of you. You sense your own panic, and you decide how to respond to each situation. You get frustrated with your choices, you feel the aches and pains, and you recover from your injuries. 

Throughout this inner journey, you change. Your physical possibilities become greater. Your mental clarity becomes better. And you emotional capacity becomes deeper. This all happens within yourself. It’s a wild ride and you’re always learning more and more about who you are. 

The unfolding of the bare human soul... this is what interests me.
— Bruce Lee

It sounds just like a personal endeavour. But that’s far from true - all of this is facilitated by other people. 


It Happens Through Others.


Scientists studying the genetics and molecular biology of cancer and other chronic diseases recently made a couple of interesting discoveries:

- Loneliness and feeling alienated from other people tells our cells to produce inflammation and suppress our immune system. 

- Social connections do the opposite. Strong relationships and helping other people actually strengthen our bodies too. 

In other words, when we feel bad and/or isolated, our cells and body chemistry show it. But when we connect with and help others, our cells and body chemistry show that too. 

Interestingly, it’s not just “happy feelings” that keep our cells healthy. It’s helping others and feeling like you’re part of a greater good. 


It’s Your Time to Help


You need to do jiu jitsu for you, and you need to do it for others too. The journey is within and the journey is also amongst a tribe of other like minded people. Jiu jitsu is a shared project. We’re all in this together.

Some of your teammates have more or less experience. Each deserve respect, and care, and guidance, and there’s no better person to do it than you. 

Sure you’re no sensei. You’re still unsure of things yourself. But you have your own insights, stories, and experiences. You know more than the newbie on the mat. And you’re an expert compared to the layman. 

These people are mirroring your moves and relying on your guidance. Use your insights, and experience, and empathy. Help them out. 


We’re All Connected


Being thankful, and positive - doing good in the world - is crucial for a good time on the mats. When you feel good, you look good. When you’re happy your body is happy. When you feel valued, you value yourself, and you make positive choices. When you feed your spirit with altruism it comes back to you tenfold. 

Acknoweldge that you are part of a tight knit community. Jiu jitsu is an individual endeavour, and it’s very much a team sport. To stay on the mats, you need to give back. 

You need to be there for others. Not because it helps you but because it helps the people around you. The treasure comes not just from the search within but when you open your eyes and look around you. 

When you’re of service to others, the benefits of the gentle art proliferate through everyone else around you. Others can experience progress and the joys that come with it. And when others progress, you in turn, progress. 

Jiu jitsu is you and it’s the team around you. It’s the community of grapplers in your area, throughout your country, and all over the world. We’re connected through our love for the mats, and our passion to make the world a better place. 

We are Team Jiu Jitsu. 

Oss.

 

References

Precision Nutrition, Level 2 Coaching Masterclass 'We're all Connected'. Dixon, Dr Krista Scott.