I started jiu jitsu over 10 years ago.
In the beginning, I was strong, athletic, and motivated.
I quickly realised that this doesn’t count for much against the jiu jitsu of a skilled opponent. The harder I tried, the more I’d get thrown, choked, and yanked left, and right.
Then I’d get to roll with a fellow newbie. Sometimes I’d survive, and sometimes I’d dominate. A crank-like choke here, a sloppy armbar there.
‘Am I finally getting this?’ I’d courageously ask myself. And before that thought could pass, there’d be someone else to come along and destroy whatever confidence I’d just mustered up.
There are light bulbs, and new details, and you think now is the moment in time that you know it all. And then a counter comes along, you get dominated, and it’s back to the drawing board.
Sometimes you’re the hammer, and sometimes you’re the nail.
The forever evolving path of jiu jitsu is both blissful, and humbling. Willpower can kick and fight, but it cannot control the outcome, no matter how hard it tries. This hurts. It’s hard to accept. But it’s true.
What can be controlled is the behaviours associated with performance. As you reach the performance required to win, naturally, you will begin to win.
The focus of Higher Jiu Jitsu isn’t to dominate opponents. We aren’t opponents. We’re teammates and we’re aligned with the common goal of learning. We seek to explore. We slow things down, so that we can break down the pieces, try different ways, and contemplate the why.
The Professor Pedro Sauer says the ideal dojo is more like a laboratory, than a gymnasium. The gym signifies blood, sweat, and tears. The laboratory is a place where smart people in white gowns come together to analyse interesting stuff, test hypotheses, and re-assess conclusions.
What lacks in one from the other is the force of will.
Higher Jiu Jitsu doesn’t rely on willpower. The reliance is on technique. We appreciate the beauty of leverage, and we’re on board it’s study for life.
It’s always feedback, not failure.
Being a student is a commitment to the ongoing process of learning. You need the highs, and you need the lows in order to grow. Alas, you buckle up, you ride the waves of elation, and devastation, and you move on.
Do the necessary work. Refine your daily routine. Assess the tools you have available to you. Have the right people around you.
Nobody is immune to the process.
The champions are the ones who embrace it.