BJJ: Learning in Earnest
How BJJ Illuminates our shortcomings
BJJ teaches us that what feels good or comfortable is rarely good for our well-being– physical or otherwise. Rationalizing a defeat is always going to be easier than facing the harsh reality of a loss. Likewise, indulging in unhealthy foods and/or substances will grant us immediate access to dopamine. What is not immediately clear to us is while these behaviors can be pleasurable in the moment, they are actually impediments to our growth. They allow us to run from our problems instead of facing them head on, and leave us in a perpetual fog of the mind that places precedence on our ego/comfort over what’s actually important: learning BJJ.
“Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price.” -Sun Tzu
In order for progress to occur, truth must be attained. The reality of our failings must be observed with complete detachment. We must reach past our ego and immerse ourselves fully in the process. We must identify our shortcomings and do everything in our power to eradicate or overcome them. This is done through repetition and an unwillingness to just accept things the way they are. It might come slowly and unnaturally at first, but eventually the new methodology which we strive to cultivate will ingrain itself into our mental and physical faculties.
Effort in Ease
The path to improvement can be arduous. It’s natural to not want to appear ignorant or inferior, and even more natural to not want someone strangling you or making you physically uncomfortable. In reality, feelings of inadequacy and discomfort are commonplace in jiu-jitsu, and the sooner a practitioner can learn to accept that reality and laugh about it, the better. It behooves the jiu-jiteiro to detach himself from the outcome of a match/round and just enjoy the journey. Like in yoga, the jiu-jitsu practitioner should strive to remain completely in the present, and to allow any anxieties about what might happen next melt away.
Working toward Improvement
After losing a match, it’s hard to look at what went wrong. The natural tendency is often to make excuses for ourselves to avoid bruising our fragile ego. When we own our mistakes, however, it allows us to learn from them and change our current jiu-jitsu course. By honestly asking yourself the difficult questions (“What did I do wrong? What drastic changes to my training and/or lifestyle need to be made?” ), finding the answers, and following through with them, you are taking the first real step toward improvement. As Master Carlos Gracie once said, “There is no losing in BJJ, just learning.”
Adapting these learning mechanisms to everyday life
Owning your mistakes and learning from them is obviously a useful skill in many aspects of life. It will enhance the quality of almost any role you play in life, whether that role is as husband, student, employer, employee, etc. So come try a free class and start your journey of self-improvement now!