I was reading about core values the other day. It was recommended that you should take some time to flesh out your top three values for a goal-setting exercise. I thought I'd give it a shot from a Jiu Jitsu perspective. I couldn't quite narrow it down to three, but finally settled on the five below. I think it does a pretty good job of summarizing some of my deeper thoughts on Jiu Jitsu. Enjoy!
"You do not truly know someone until you fight them." -Seraph, The Matrix Reloaded
Does who you are change based on who's in front of you? If you want to find out who your truly are, the best thing you can do is step onto the mat and test yourself against another human being. You may find that you have some work to do. That's okay, keep at it. You'll make the real you just a little bit better every day. Then it's up to you to make sure that who you are the rest of the day aligns with that person. Be yourself, the real you. One person, all the time. That's integrity.
In martial arts circles you'll hear that strength doesn't matter. Then you'll pair off against someone who's really strong, and... well... strength matters. Boy does it matter! In Jiu-Jitsu, you need to have a base level of strength. You don't need to go out and win a strong man competition. But you do need to have enough strength to move your own body around. If you can't do a pushup, you have some work to do, but don't worry. You'll get there. And there's no more fun way to get there than through Jiu-Jitsu!
In Jiu-Jitsu you use specific tactics and strategies to overcome larger, stronger opponents. These tactics and strategies center around amplifying your own strength by maintaining good base, posture and structure in your movements, while weakening our opponents by robbing them of their base, posture and structure. You practice these skills against fully resisting opponents, so you'll instantly know what works, what doesn't, and what you need to work on.
When you're ready, you will spar against fully resisting opponents. This is creative problem solving under pressure at it's finest! When you roll (or spar), there's a point where some people just completely give up. They realize that they are completely outmatched, and lose the will to keep fighting. When it happens, you can feel it. But then there are others who fight to the very end, even when it's obvious that they are going to lose. And when you catch them in that armlock or choke, they tap of course. Everybody taps. But then they get a big smile on their face, slap hands, bump fists, and go again. Those are the people who go far in Jiu-Jitsu, and in life!
You've heard it said that you've got to give respect in order to get respect. But I disagree. Don't get me wrong, I believe you should treat everyone with respect. But there are plenty of people in this world who get plenty of respect while giving none to their fellow man. Furthermore, there are people who will treat others with respect simply because they're afraid to do otherwise. And it comes off as less than genuine. The fact of the matter is that being treated with respect is not the same as being respected. There's something hollow about being treated with respect when you feel haven't earned it. That's because respect is not bought by being nice to people. It's earned by building and demonstrating qualities like integrity, strength, skill, and heart. Step onto the mat and I promise you will build these qualities in spades!