Jiu jitsu in daily life.

I’m not a big believer in “Martial arts makes you a better person”, a theory that many martial artists subscribe to.

Funnily enough, most of the people that espouse this idea are arsehole kung fu nerds who turn out to be two-faced wankers without the faintest idea of what respect and loyalty actually is.

Case in point: “You must respect this guy because he is old and Chinese and he owns the school.”

Me: “Can I train with him?”

Kung fu guy: “Don’t be ridiculous! He doesn’t waste time with beginners.”

I mean, WTF?

At my jiu jitsu dojo, nobody even mentions the word respect, but when the owner of the school rolls with everyone in the room and ties them into knots despite being much lighter than most of them, respect is deserved, and comes easily. I’m reminded of the awesome (but badly punctuated) tattoo Enson Inoue has…

enson.jpg
“Real power, strength, and heart can’t be given…it must be taken.”
Anyway, I’m rambling. Point is, the kind of respect you give someone after they have kicked your ass (in a nice way) is different to the fake respect you give some old kung fu guy just because he fits your image of a kung fu master.
I’m still rambling. The point is… I believe that your priority in learning martial arts should be to learn how to fight. The other aspects, (health benefits, relaxation, enjoyment, social) are secondary. Don’t get me wrong, they are definitely the perks of training. But to lose sight of the “martial” part of martial arts is dangerous. Some people want to do martial arts for spiritual nourishment, for relaxation, for health etc… to them I say, go do yoga! Take up golf! Knitting! Anything! But the martial arts are for fighting.
Ah, it has been so long since I’ve spoken on the subject, I’ve forgotten how to do it.
Just go to Bullshido and figure it out yourselves.
So anyway, the actual reason for this post.
BJJ is making me a better person, in many ways, but one way in particular that I’ve been noticing lately.
If you want to get good at BJJ, at some point, you need to start paying attention to detail. You need to do things thoroughly. You need to know the difference between kind of doing a move (and wondering why it doesn’t always work), and doing it completely and thoroughly without leaving any part out or forgetting any part or doing it sloppily.
There are so many different ways to look at even the simplest of moves. The triangle, from basic to detail:
  • Put his head and arm between your legs and squeeze.
  • Put his left arm across your belly, hook your left leg over the right side of his neck, your right leg against his left shoulder, hook your foot under your right knee and squeeze.
  • Put his left arm across your belly, hook your left leg over the right side of his neck making sure you are covering his carotid artery, your right leg against his left shoulder making sure that it is pressing on the artery on the left side of his neck, hook your foot under your right knee as deep as you can, pointing the toes up and squeeze your thighs together.
  • Put his left arm deep across your belly, hook your left leg over the right side of his neck making sure you are covering his carotid artery, turn your body so that you are looking in his earhole, your right leg against his left shoulder making sure that it is pressing on the artery on the left side of his neck, hook your foot under your right knee as deep as you can, pointing the toes up, and squeeze your thighs together but keep your calves in tight, pull down on his head, set up the sweep if you need to…
The list goes on and on.
And the thing is, if you are a sloppy bastard in your daily life, you’ll be a sloppy bastard in jiu jitsu. Right now there is a giant neon arrow pointing at my head as I type this. But lately, I have been making a conscious effort not to be so sloppy. Because it is easier to try to be efficient and do things properly 100% of the time than to turn it on only for jiu jitsu. It’s better (for me anyway) to train myself to just try to be a better person all the time. And it’s my desire to improve in jiu jitsu that is driving me to do this.
The things that I am doing are not major, but they are definitely improving things in my life. When I do a job, I don’t leave it half finished like I used to. I spot a piece of fluff or rubbish on the floor and I don’t leave it for my missus to pick up like I used to. When I wash the dishes I don’t pile them on top of dry dishes and hope that no-one will notice. I don’t leave a single flap of toilet paper on the roll just to get out of changing the roll like I used to. I don’t staple banana skins to the side of the rubbish bag like Homer Simpson to get out of changing the bag, like I used to.
Et cetera et cetera.
Um, the end.
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2 Responses

  1. I know what you mean. Jiu-jitsu has taught me to humble myself, because if you go in with pride your falling quick. I got my first submit the other day, and it was good and bad. Good in that I’m finally seeing some results for my hard work, but bad in that I got a smidgen of pride. It hurt even more the next time I got submitted and I was mad. I should’ve spoke with the guy afterwards about the roll but my pride got in the way and I lost a good opportunity to learn something.

    To me BJJ is more relaxing than yoga, running, or any physical exercise, because for 2+ hours I HAVE to think about BJJ and nothing else, otherwise my ass is grass. It’s a strange yet wonderful feeling to have that break from the world.

  2. Definitely. BJJ is great for clearing the mind, because like you said, you have no choice but to concentrate solely on the task at hand otherwise it will be painful!

    Yeah, it’s difficult to find the balance between a healthy self respect, and pride. All the best jiu jitsu players say “tap often”, and I suppose they are right. It is only training, after all. If you aren’t afraid to get caught, then you’ll try new things, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you always roll like you don’t want to be tapped out, you’ll end up with a very narrow focus in your game.

    I think it’s okay once in a while to submit someone and say, even if it’s to yourself, “Holy shitcakes, that was awesome!” as long as you remember that, in the grand scheme of things, you suck. As do I.

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