Thursday, July 4, 2013


Years ago one of the clients I respected the most said something to me when I was telling him about some of my friends who train BJJ full time.

He said, "you may see them as winners on the mat, but that says nothing about how they are in life."

It was like Neo's moment in The Matrix, my eyes opened and I never looked at BJJ the same way again. Forever taking everything in with a grain of salt I call reality.

I thought as long as you were good at just one thing, it meant you were doing well in life and everything would fall into place. You do what you love and good things happen.

But now I realize life judges on a whole different criteria. Are you a good person? Do you work hard even outside of Jiu Jitsu? Are you independent or do you still depend on others (like your parents) for your livelihood? Are you good to your family? Are you responsible or do you always put BJJ first? Are you educated? Are you a good leader? Are you articulate? Do you have quantifiable and viable life skills that you can put on a resume? And so much more.

You can be great at Jiu Jitsu and have many other valuable life qualities but being good at Jiu Jitsu doesn't automatically make you good in those other qualities. Those are things you need to learn through other life experiences.

Does training lots and lots of Jiu Jitsu set you up for a rich meaningful life? No, lots of experiences, not all of which you may be comfortable with sets you up for that.

BJJ for many of us becomes our comfort zone, and when things are too uncomfortable or hard, we run back to the mats, to our safety, to our comfort.

How often do you see Facebook posts or tweets saying "I can't stand school, can't wait to be on the mats."

"Can't wait for work to end so I can be on the mats."

And other variations of these.

Growth happens on the other side of your comfort zone. BJJ is what it is, a tool to enhance your life. It is not your life.

When a coach tells you basketball is life or football is life, they don't mean make your life revolve around this sport (though some do) they mean this sport or game is an analogy for life and use it to make yourself better for the challenges of being an adult. BJJ is NOT life, it is an analogy for life.

I know BJJ'ers who scoff at Crossfitters who can't tell the difference, but they can't see the same behavior in themselves.

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