We're all in this together

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We're all in this together

In today's world, it seems that everyone is taking sides.  Either you're politically liberal or conservative; you're strongly religious or atheist; you're pro-this, anti-that.  It is easy to label people by their particular socio-economic background, cultural heritage, belief system, or ideals.  Personally, I find that these differences make the world interesting.  If we were all the same, it would be a pretty boring place.  But all too often, people divide themselves into groups based on these types of characteristics, and there is often a lot of hostility among these various groups.

On the mat though, through Jiu-jitsu, we are able to break through these artificial barriers & see that we are more alike than not.  We all have similar struggles, similar frustrations, good days & bad days, and we're all working towards the same goal-to be better today than we were yesterday.  Through training together, pushing each other, choking each other, sweating & sometimes even bleeding on each other, we develop a very close bond with our training partners.  This is why I consider those that I share the mat with family.  We don't have to think the same or agree on everything.  Jiu-jitsu transcends our differences.  I think it is because Jiu-jitsu, being an art of physical combat, is so primal that it is something we can all relate to.  Martial arts have been around pretty much since the beginning of recorded history.  Mankind has always had conflict, always had the need to protect ourselves from others, and so, we developed more efficient ways of fighting.  I believe that this is inherent in our nature as human beings, and that is why I think it is something that we can all relate to.

We love to see our friends & training partners accomplish their goals.  Whether that is seeing them finally getting a well deserved belt promotion, or having that ah-ha moment where a technique they have been struggling with finally clicks.  We all celebrate the accomplishments of our teammates together.  We all share in the accomplishments of our teammates because we are part of it.  Nobody gets better at Jiu-jitsu by themselves & we all need good training partners to help us develop.  And, those of us who have been on the mat a little longer all remember having those same struggles & overcoming those obstacles ourselves.  We all had a first day on the mat.  Even the most accomplished black belts, whose technique seems so smooth & flawless-we were all white belts once; struggling with learning how to breakfall, shrimp, and stand in base.  We are all traveling along the same path, some of us just started the journey earlier.  As a new student, that is sometimes hard to put into perspective, but it is true.  Sometimes it seems that the upper belts are infallible.  They are not.  They started in the same place you are, and they still struggle just like you do.  We all deal with frustration from time to time.  That never goes away.  You just learn to recognize that it is a part of the process & continue to work through it, knowing that there is usually a major breakthrough on the other side if you just persevere.

One of the most interesting things about being a Jiu-jitsu instructor is that I get to meet all kinds of people from all walks of life.  And, the cool thing is, how Jiu-jitsu brings us all together!  Because we are family, I try to get to know my students personally & develop a relationship with each one.  At any given time, we have white collar workers, blue collar workers, people of all different faiths, or none at all, politically conservative, politically liberal, men, women & kids of all different ethnicities & cultures all sharing the mat together.  And, none of it matters when we're trying to choke & armlock each other.  The primal struggle to survive under pressure and the bond that we all share through Jiu-jitsu transcends our differences, and we find that these differences only serve to enhance everyone's experience as we all struggle to meet our own personal goals together.  Just another reason why Jiu-jitsu is so cool!

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