Sometimes the most valuable lessons in life can be found on jiu-jitsu mats. Here are a few I found:
1.Not to quit. It’s going to be an uphill battle. Don’t let it scare you. The hard work will pay off. Jiu jitsu is incredibly difficult, and on top of that, sometimes things happen that interfere with your training. Perhaps an injury, perhaps a priority shift in your personal life, but if you truly embrace the jiu jitsu lifestyle, you will always find your way back. You can determine a person’s greatness by what it takes to discourage them. People who are living the jiu-jitsu lifestyle are not quitters. Almost every BJJ star out there today has faced some kind of challenge that threatened to keep them off the mats. We all face obstacles. The best thing we can do is learn how to persevere in spite of them.
2.If something doesn’t work out, find something that does. Don’t force anything. That guard sweep didn’t work? Go inverted and try something else. Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we envision it will. You can drive yourself crazy trying to make it work, you can quit altogether, or you can ‘’flow like water” and find a different way. It took me a while to understand the difference between giving up and finding a different way. Sometimes life will offer a detour, but you won’t find it if you’re only focusing on the direction you can’t go.
3.As long as you are breathing, you are okay. I learned this during a particularly tough battle with claustrophobia while being on bottom side control defending about three different attacks. I closed my eyes and realized that as long as I could be in control of my breathing, I was ultimately okay. It doesn’t remove the adversity, but it’s a small reminder that no matter how crazy everything becomes around you, you are centered. When distractions are pulling you in, remember to breath. That panicky feeling of suffocation only kicks in when you forget to breathe. As long as you are breathing, you are okay.
4.Patience. Why can’t I hit that sweep?! I must have drilled it 1000 times by now?! Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or even years to integrate a technique into your game. There are some simple things I learned at white belt that I’m just starting to hit properly. Nothing worth having happens over night, just like a sick jiu-jitsu game will not happen overnight. Everything takes time and there is a right time for everything. Trying to sweep your opponent while they are still in base is silly, the time to sweep is when they are off base. Patience can mean the difference between success and failure.
5.It’s easier when you don’t have to go it alone. A jiu- jitsu mat is useless unless there are training partners there to use them. The people around you are valuable. Make sure they know how valuable they are. And even when you’re getting tapped out left and right and you feel exhausted, your training partners are there to make you better. Look around at the people in your life that are lifting you up, but also at the people who are exhausting you. Appreciate each of them for the lessons they are teaching you.
“Everyone and everything in your life is a teacher.”-Ken Keyes