Three Thought-Provoking Historical Quotes To Inspire The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Player

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by Tony Caro

Great leaders throughout history have been known to give great advice – whether intentional or not. Certain timeless quotes provide insights that can be applied to many circumstances. Three classic historical quotes may even prove valuable to Brazilian jiu-jitsu players looking for inspiration.

“Ask: What is so unbearable about this situation? Why can’t you endure it? You will be embarrassed to answer.”

— Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 161 to 180 A.D.

There’s a question all practitioners must ask themselves: “Did I really put in all the work and effort necessary to see any true progress?” Whenever performance seems to be lacking, take a step back and determine if the right approach to training has been taken. The “right approach” refers to a method that unequivocally leads to progress. Showing up to class and going through the motions in a half-hearted manner doesn’t reflect the road to progress. Those pushing themselves too hard won’t likely see the best results, either. Increasing training frequency from four days a week to six days a week could actually be disastrous. The body could find itself in an overtrained state due to lack of rest and recovery time.

Assessing poor progress requires looking at training attitudes, overall lifestyle habits, and anything else that undermines performance. An awful diet might drastically drag down the potential to hit peak performance levels. The difficult truth must be the accepted truth by jiu-jitsu players and other athletes. Personal decisions play a major role in the quality of performance.

Being honest about less-than-stellar training becomes the first step towards correcting those imperfections. Performance should improve to some degree once deficiencies are addressed.

“Do not trust the cheering, for those persons would shout as much if you or I were going to be hanged.”

—-Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1653 – 1658.

Referring to Cromwell’s sentiment towards human nature as “cynical” wouldn’t exactly be an inaccurate or unfair assessment. His tenure as a ruler gave him unique insights into the fickle nature of the masses. Competitors could learn a lesson from Cromwell’s realist attitude. Winners do receive a great deal of adulation, but adulation can be fleeting and the public loses interest in “yesterday’s” competitors rather quickly.

Competitors aren’t the only ones susceptible to “cheers.” Instructors looking for adulation or praise for their training methods may be stunned to discover the better an instructor performs, the more resentment he/she faces from peers and business competitors.

Seeking cheers or public approval shouldn’t serve as motivation for a competitor or an instructor. Concentrate on the actual task. Competitors should focus on winning and instructors should focus on effective coaching. Appreciate adulation when given, but don’t become too dependent on it. Doing so invariably leads to disappointment.

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”

—George S. Patton, Legendary U.S. Army General During World War II

Challenging yourself to achieve goals allows training to attain meaning. Coasting in your training without any real attempt to challenge yourself detracts from the benefits BJJ training delivers. The sought-after challenges do not need to be dramatic, either. Even making incremental gains to achieve simple goals in training has value.

Even the decision to “merely” participate in jiu-jitsu can be a noble goal. Someone whose life never included anything athletic can find it daunting to start jiu-jitsu at age 50. Most people wouldn’t be up for the challenge. Those taking the initiative to do so reap the rewards and exhilaration of embracing the challenge and experience self-improvements.

History: Today and Tomorrow

An endless stream of historical quotes could be borrowed to provide inspiration for Jiu Jitsu training. All timeless comments and insights carry a lot of truth. Why not carry the inspired truth into your Jiu Jitsu sessions?


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