This is a recounting of a fight.
A feeling that changed the angle of the lens I view life through.
Infectious, stomach churning feeling.
Looking back, it was, and always will be, a happy and emotional, splinter of a memory.
In the lead up, nerves hit.
Sleep became visualisations, visualisations became affirmations;
I’ll just meditate, I’ll just breathe I said to myself…
“Nothing can fully prepare you to step in front of a stranger and strangle them”
When John Smallios, spoke of surreal fight moments, stars glistened in his eyes.
I listened, curiously, observing him.
There are things in life that spark an interest; this was one of them.
Pedro Sauer calls it a seed;
Daily watering and nourishment is needed for it to grow.
In my mind’s eye I grabbed the bucket of water.
I was changing my life to support this seed, guiding its growth, giving it light.
I started training more.
Jiu Jitsu captivated me, vines of anatomy and positions entangling my heart;
Disconnection plagued my thoughts.
“Relax” said my body, “spaz out” said my mind as sleep trickled in,
I walked my figure to bed.
“When we are not afraid to sleep, now we are more awake”
The sun gazed, rejuvenated, I acted like nothing was about to happen.
My body looked at me bewildered,
Calmly I took it to the balcony and sat, eyes closed, mind blank,
Listening to the soundtrack of the universe.
Driving in felt like I was tracking towards a tornado,
I could feel the wind, the energy, heat, and nerves, my body hummed.
Entering brought excitement,
Elegance and bison-like art was displayed on the mats before me.
First I saw my uncle, then my Gi family,
I had plenty of time, it was 11:35am, and I was on at 12pm.
They called my name,
I was on, dressed in my jeans and shoes, surely ready to go.
Changing quickly I ran over,
Thoughts fluttered like a ruptured heartbeat, and I hadn’t even felt the floor beneath my toes,
Gravity, the ground, was my greatest ally.
“You cannot rush sole connection, for it is soul connection, it is harmony”
A quick warm up, some mobility,
Like a window my mind opened, concepts were discarded like clothes hurled out by a crazed ex-girlfriend.
Ideas, moves, techniques,
Splattered on the pavement some three floors below, but I couldn’t see that far down.
The past two weeks of drills,
Grigor Novakov forewarned me about this, and he was right. All that is internalised was long ago.
I walked to Mat 3.
Tattooed, stern, the man looked at me, my match. “He looks nice” I said, reassuringly to my brain, it was of no matter.
We shook hands, the ref yelled, and it was on.
I looked at him, and heavy lead hit me, a comet, drilling me into the earth, all feeling lost.
My body hit the eject button, my mind was driving me forward.
My heavy arms dived for a leg, as I stepped, I grabbed, I pulled, and the hinge clicked. Leverage prevailed.
I slid my hand into his collar,
Like a magician’s trick, a hidden card out of a jacket sleeve, he stepped forward, it worked!
Thoughts of thanks sent to Nouran.
I picked up his ankle and drove him down, but it felt like he expected this, as if it was a trap. Mid-air we stayed still;
The world turned,
A hand slid across my throat,
Instinctively I tucked my chin, dread enveloping me, but I wasn’t going down like this.
We hit the mat, full guard.
I sat up, people yelled, but I could only hear my heart.
I started to work, releasing stagnant thoughts through movement, and remembered what had been drilled.
‘Posture’, ‘breathing’, ‘calm’,
It was too much, I felt overloaded, overtired and hyperactive, he wrapped me up.
First one leg, then the other,
Warm, silent, darkness enveloped, encompassed by the man, my mind contemplated, captivated by the happening.
I made the hand gesture, Light came in, breath came back, and something magical happened.
“My ego dissolved, a huge weight lifted from my shoulders”
A dissolving, shedding of old skin, peeling back the layers.
The other man’s hand was raised, and I thanked him. I brought my attention into the now.
I felt strangely complete. Despite having lost, I was so happy, replete.
“For everything we lose we gain something else”
My second match soon followed,
And I was back on the mat again.
I touched the mat, it felt good and I accepted all that was to be, opposing nothing that might occur.
Ten seconds, same takedown, same exact position,
This time happy, warm, passionate, my heart whispered, creativity blossomed and I became liquid.
He pulled me down, I let him, I knew.
“In the spaces between things, creativity lies”
Wrist movement and woven fingers led my foe into the forest, fist slicing into his throat, he gasped,
I felt a touch, it was done.
My corner was making their way over to watch, but I had been present, it was already over.
A change of pace,
My hand was lifted, and I was, once more, happy. I lost the first, it felt great,
I won the second; it felt the same, the moments of presence mattered most,
Gratitude, acceptance, love and creativity had remembered me,
I embodied stillness.
Two more matches passed, those flowering moments all cherished.
From the seed leaves spawned,
With happiness, and courage I had stepped into the unknown spaces that we embrace, love disguised as fear.
And one day,
When my hair changes to the colour of my belt, and back again, I will recall all that which passed,
Smiling in remembrance.
This is a story of a fight coming from our child selves,
Authenticity and creativity surface beneath walls of muscle and strength,
But the fight never ends.
Jiu Jitsu transforms the battleground of our consciousness into a playground.
Our emotions become physical,
Thankfully there is a place where you go,
The soul beckons this intimate place.
“And in stillness, I find my true self”
By Leon Comino