The Sabbatical - Begins 2019.

I love jiu jitsu.

From the moment we met, it was love at first sight.

I skipped many a lectures to attend class. I deferred years of normal life to travel and train with the best. It's what I think, and do, and it's been like this for about 12 years now and counting.

I started Higher Jiu Jitsu as a passion project, and it's progressively developed over numerous years into the beautiful academy it is now.

I choose to play the long game.

I now find myself as a student of the art, and also as a coach, instructor, and school owner. Jiu Jitsu is my hobby, and my work. On a light day I will be on the mats for about 4 hours. Heavy days would have me teaching about 8 - 10 hours. Over the course of the week, that's a lot of jiu jitsu.

And that doesn't even start to count the extra curricular work of running this school. Rescuetime says I spend on average 18 hours a week working on my computer. Writing for our blog, and newsletters, and social media posts, and Constitution amendments, marking the roll, and dealing with membership admin, taking care of merch sales, making videos, editing videos, etc etc etc.

And after more than a decade doing this, I feel like I'm still just touching the sides. I'm only just getting started. On the mats and off, there is so much still to learn, and refine, and create when it comes to all things HJJ.

Like the students of Higher, I'm playing the long game, and it means I plan to be on the mats for life. I love every bit of the jits life, I'm grateful to be in this position, & I wouldn't have it any other way.

It's also why I need to take a break.

The to-do lists, and the cup of knowledge can't always be getting filled because soon it will overflow and make a big mess.

You also need space. Space isn't a luxury that only few people can get. Space is necessary in order to be at your best. It's the need to step back, and detach, and look at things from a different light. It's the need to relax your joints from the rigors of regular training and focus on pre-habilitative activities. It's the need to feel the hunger to learn, which in turns builds curiosity, and develops into creativity.

It's called the Sabbatical, and it starts in 2019.

Every 7th week, I will be taking a step back from daily operations at Higher Jiu Jitsu to focus on the different areas of my life, and the parts of Higher Jiu Jitsu that I don't usually get to work on.

I have a "Projects to Work On" tab and it's being filled with more and more things that I never get to do. My garden veggie patch has never looked so shabby and it needs some TLC. There are some friends' mats I'd love to visit at some point.

I want to be a best selling author, and my first book isn't going to write itself either.

Above all, I want Higher Jiu Jitsu to be the best school in the world, and I want to teach the best classes of all time. And in order to do that I need to be at my best. And being at my best is working hard when I need to and also making time for rest.

Of course the classes will run as per normal. We're so fortunate to have many more enthusiastic coaches ready, and raring to lead a Higher Jiu Jitsu class of their own. This will be their time to shine too.

And for me, the week will be a chance to tie up loose ends, rest as needed, be free from obligation, and find space for relaxation. The students of Higher Jiu Jitsu deserve nothing but the best, and with this new initiative that will keep coming to them for many, many years to come.

In this way we’ll continue the ascent of Higher Jiu Jitsu in 2019 and beyond, developing our programs, growing on the mats and off, and always going Higher & Higher with Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

Coach John.