That was the chuckling response I remember Joe Rogan giving a podcast guest when he was asked about Jiu-Jitsu. As part of the conversation, Joe mentioned that he was a black belt in the martial art and the guest inquired “What is that? What does that mean?”
Jiu-Jitsu serves as a great example and prescription to what we have been speaking of this week. About facing your fears and anxieties for the sake of improvement. Doing some things you don’t “like” over and over to become more proficient in something that is important.
Safety is important in our development of confidence and becoming a whole person. Jiu-Jitsu is probably the best martial art that you or your kids can do to learn the skills to be safe, build lifelong confidence, and also learn – possibly- the most important lesson of life.
“Do you like doing that?” is something that people would often ask me when I first started taking Jiu-Jitsu classes several years ago. Often times, the conversation came up over some odd looking bruise, tbh.
After a bit of honest thinking, my normal answer was “Weeelllll, I don’t know if I liiiiiike it yet. But it’s definitely super interesting and cool so I will keep going back.”
You see, Jiu-Jitsu (or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) is a ground based fighting system that is incredibly effective. It was actually designed as a way for a smaller, weaker fighter to defend themselves and win a fight. Even with the larger opponent on top of them. Which is what makes BJJ a natural self-defense art to teach children and women.
It’s also the foundation of the multi-billion dollar sports league knows as the UFC. BJJ is the “all of the weird ground rolling around” that you see. haha.
Jiu-Jitsu uses leverage and technique to incapacitate the larger, stronger opponent on top of you. Interestingly it is even built in such a way that you could use leverage and technique to incapacitate and escape a larger foe, on top of you, without hurting them. Crazy huh?
Well the other larger benefit you can get from Jiu-Jitsu training is that it is the best example of probably the greatest life lesson: Learning to accept a long series of small and momentary losses in the pursuit of ultimate success. What better lesson is there it learn in life?
Great successes rarely come quickly and easily. It will generally requires years of trials. And failures. You cannot turn away at each loss. Earlier this week in the blog we we talked about Churchill’s quote of: Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without a loss of enthusiasm.
I have yet to find anything that exemplifies this more than learning Jiu-Jitsu. I say this because of the uniquely tough and personal feedback loop that is involved in learning the sport. When you practice BJJ skills, you will do live drills with other students which is normally called “rolling.” Well each round of “rolling” end when one participant either chokes the other, or bends a limb in the wrong direction (non-maliciously, of course).
I once described it as: Imagine you are learning basketball by playing someone else. When it starts, they get the ball. In basketball, if they score – meaning you were unsuccessful in defending – you actually get the ball. In BJJ, if you are unsuccessful in defending – your get choked. haha.
And THAT is a good thing. Here’s why: if you effectively learn a reasonably high level of BJJ skill, you can beat probably 97% of the population if forced to fight. Though to learn that skill, you are going to go through a mon-u-mental number of losses. Though, if you can go from one strangulation to another and see it as a learning experience – what greater personification of the Churchill quote could there be? Could be one of the greatest life lessons you could learn or take your kids to learn.
Talk about multitasking: Getting in shape while learning self-confidence through world-class safety, while learning to accept loss after loss after setback after setback to progress toward a meaningful goal.
To see a great explanation of what Jiu-Jitsu looks like in action, check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZM_8-c1EqOY. 3.8 million views so must not be too bad. Though I swear I didn’t somehow get the speaker to cover what we are talking about. haha.
For more info on the history and heritage of BJJ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CGYQjC6WOY
Funny side note: On top of being very wealthy from BJJ, the speaker also has a side business that makes a cool product for a lot of you that have kids that go to a lot of events. He created the Hero Hoodie that is a sweatshirt that converts from a hoodie to a backpack. That way you don’t have to carry the hoodie around in hour hands all day once once the sun comes out + can actually pack stuff in it.