It takes years of consistent work and effort. Once achieved, a new journey begins. The responsibility should be clear. Passing on the experience and knowledge to those who are on the journey and in need of a teacher. For some this may be a burden, others a delight. In reality it’s a lot of both.
It’s not nearly enough to just pass on technique, it’s not nearly enough to show what it takes to win a championship, it’s definitely not right to be a selfish player in a sport, and it certainly is unacceptable to just take the character, the knowledge and hide it away from all those who seek it. The only thing that’s acceptable is to be a commander, a coach and of course a teacher.
You see, Jiu Jitsu is a lifelong journey. It’s a “Triade”, a word from French origin meaning a trinity, a triangle. One side of the Triade is the self-defense aspect. Jiu Jitsu was developed as a means of self-protection. A way a person can defend themselves in a real life- threatening situation. We all know the stories of how Master Helio developed BJJ for people like himself. A smaller weaker person can be capable of fending off a much larger, stronger assailant. Without this angle there is no second one, which is the sport aspect of Jiu Jitsu. A way for one to test and hone their skills in a non-lethal manor. An arena where technique and sportsmanship come together to raise each other up and aide in the development of everyone’s “game”. That’s exactly what this angle is…a game.
These two angels sit atop of the third angle, a base which is called character. This base is the one that holds all three angles together. Not only does it prevent warriors and athletes from tearing each other a part, it teaches us how to be the best person we can be in all aspects of our lives. As we march through this sojourn we call BJJ, we learn from our training certain tools. Tools that teach us, prepare us and most importantly build us. The base of this Triade gives us the experience and knowledge to be able to set the right example to all those who we come in contact with. It carries the load of enabling us to be the best commander and warrior, the best coach and the very best teacher of life’s values on and off the mat with the purest of heart.
Without the proper AND equal development of each of these angles we lose the perfect, purest system of growth. As a Professor, it is our fundamental duty to ensure that each student grows and develops their own perfect Triade so they can some day pass that perfection on. Without the proper training in all three aspects of Jiu Jitsu one can never fully develop and what a selfish tragedy that would be.
Get “Back on the Mat” is what a fighter strives to do. It’s a place where self achievement and growth is measured through blood sweat and tears. Yet the mat is not just a physical place, but a spiritual battleground as well. Yes, it’s a combative arena, a chessboard so to speak. However, there is another aspect, another dimension. A manifestation of a persona, an ideal. “An Avatar”.
It’s not just the physical fight or the pursuit of belts. It’s what transpires day after day on the mat, in the subconscious, and in the brain. Most will be called to this art for the obvious…the physical attributes, the knowledge of safety, security, the ability to fight. Yet those that dedicate time, effort, heart, and all of themselves to more failure than success come to the realization that this lifestyle truly is a journey through life, that without the knowledge, balance and confidence one learns, would be empty, lonely and superficial at the very least.
Those that step on the mat consistently for years enter a safe place not of this world. It’s a world where the rules are plain to see and apply to everyone equally. A sanctuary where one can be alone with oneself, no stresses, or pressures from the daily, mundane rituals of the average life outside this realm. The ability to think without thinking, move without moving yet flowing without effort, is what draws these Avatars to this Eden on earth. It’s nothing short of an addiction to what can be in every aspect of one’s life.
Simply put, the goal of this journey is to acquire enough knowledge, enough experience so one can take their Avatar off the mat and live by the laws of the idealistic world and utilize them in the world of the rest.
The BJJ academy has many “classrooms”, from the vestibules, the mats, to the locker-rooms. The people we meet in the vestibule are encouraging and delightful. The education we get on the mat is priceless. We all know the value of a great teacher and mentor. On a personal note, that is why I hold my professor, Milton Regis 6th degree black belt, in such high regards. Yet there is something enormous to say about the atmosphere and friendship that is built in the locker room.
When people struggle, sweat and face their fears together, there is a strong and special relationship that is formed. An intimate bond so to speak. Coming from a man that can’t remember what he ate for breakfast, let alone specific words spoken amongst a group of warriors, there is a deep feeling of peace, camaraderie, safety and vulnerability that one cannot ignore or forget.
I have come to a point in my training where I finally realize that my opponent in front of me is not my only adversary. Just as a true warrior would never underestimate his physical obstacles, he would surely recognize and control the greatest obstacle of all…himself. We all can hear the little voice in our heads speaking to us before, during and after a fight. You know, the one that speaks volumes about how you “can’t do this and you can’t do that”.
We can sit back deny, ignore or flat out lie to ourselves and others, but that won’t change the fact that it is our own worst enemy…and the most powerful one at that. Just as we come to master the basics of our game, we must also come to master the enemy within. This is a worthy and inevitable fight that all of us must conquer at one point in order to be successful. Only when one rises above and controls the demons of self doubt and self pity, can he grow to be the best he can be. Let me take it further, not just successfully grow on the mat, but to grow to extreme heights in all aspects of their lives.
This is a battle that needs to be fought not alone, for the enemy within is too deceiving and too strong. Don’t misunderstand me, it can and will be defeated. It will be conquered as a team. A legion of warriors, training and learning together on the mat. Meeting in the vestibules, exchanging handshakes and subtle hugs. Most importantly, it shall be defeated in the locker-rooms. Here, here is where we are at our strongest. Outside the pit of anguish which we call our minds, in the midst’s of fighters, real friends who understand, share, encourage and most important believe in each other. Here is where lifelong bonds and pacts are made. Not just simply from voice boxes, but from ones gut and heart. The faith and belief we have in each other squelches the screams of self doubt. We hear only the whispers of our fellow fighters..Our friends.
All people are born champions. However, it is only those who get tempered, molded and forged by the heat of battle that come to realize who they are and what they can achieve. We all reach the inevitability of this fight…rest assured my friends, I will be there standing side by side fighting with you, just as I pray that you stand beside me.
Anacondas are members of the boa constrictor family of snakes. Thus meaning they kill their prey by quickly striking and controlling their victim until it is too exhausted to fight, and their prey begins to suffocate. The will of the sufferer has been broken.
Anacondas rely on stealth and the element of surprise to catch their unsuspecting prey. This jungle predator keeps its victim at bay, by controlling their actions while frustrating and exhausting its adversary. Taking advantage of its opponent’s weary and defeated attitude, the Anaconda methodically goes on the offensive and with precision; it only alerts its victim of their demise at a time when it’s too late.
Like the Anacondas of the jungle, the great BJJ practitioner is a disciplined attacker. He is confident, patient and ready to attack at the most opportune moment. He quickly strikes, controls his opponent, matching move for move looking for the slightest light out of the tiniest window of opportunity given by his challenger or maybe even created by his own masterful mind. The BJJ artist acknowledges his adversary as a competent and dangerous foe. He engages in an active game of combat chess, exploding with bursts of speed and agility, while conserving energy and exalting exceptional deceit and precision.
The fighter is aware that in any given moment the tide can be turned. He realizes he must control the tempo. Too much wasted strength… too tired to continue. Too much hesitation…. he loses the race. The charmed grappler exalts a streaming flow between attacks and control leading to the final objective….submission.
The patient, free flowing contest on the mat is a way of life engrained in the champion fighter beginning at a time when the mat appeared to be nothing less than a jungle crawling with Anacondas and other fearless predators.