How Jiu Jitsu Taught Me To Read

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

The most efficient way to learn Jiu Jitsu seems to be to focus on concepts rather than techniques. Techniques are the vehicles through which the concepts manifest themselves. To understand a technique is finite. To understand a concept is a superpower.

I have always found this to be the case in my study of Jiu Jitsu and recently realized academia is no different.


I’ve been reading the works of Carl Jung and can’t help but see the corollaries between his concepts of the unconscious and Schopenhauer’s concept of the Will. I get the distinct feeling that they are describing the same phenomenon in very different ways. And that’s when it hit me:

Not techniques. Concepts.

I read Carl Jung because I want to better understand the driving forces behind the self. That’s the treasure I am after: understanding. I don’t actually care about the man Carl Jung; I care about the concepts he represents.

And that’s when I realized I have been studying inefficiently my entire life.

Each of the great thinkers represents a perspective, a unique blend of education, intelligence, and environment that sees an aspect of the world in a way no one else can. Generally, we seek to read a man’s work and then come to some fundamental concept through his writings. But once we are initiated and know what we are looking for, I think we must start with the concepts as the way to the man.

The books are not individual trophies to have been read. They do not exist by themselves. Many books comprise mankind’s perspective on a particular aspect of experience; they are all part of the same, larger “book.”

I’m currently trying to understand that unseen force which guides much of our action, and I have come to see Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Idea, the works of Carl Jung, and the mythology of Joseph Campbell, as all parts of a much larger work. They are different lenses looking at the same idea. They are all tools from the same tool box.

Carl Jung (the technique) doesn’t matter. What Carl Jung represents (the concept), however, is paramount. I am no longer reading these books apart from one another. I am reading them as pieces of a collected work.

“And that has made all the difference.”

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