Humanity & Sport: The Common Ground of Jiu Jitsu


I have been blessed to be a member of an incredible team at RABJJ for the past six years. Jiu Jitsu has given me more in terms of self-worth and relationships than I had ever hoped. My only response now is to try to pay these benefits forward to my students and teammates.

Jiu Jitsu affects us all in different ways.

We all enter into this art with our own personal strengths and weaknesses. We all practice this art in the hopes of carving away the inessential. If a habit or belief is not of necessity, Jiu Jitsu finds a way of removing the chaff.

I believe Jiu Jitsu’s greatest ability is the commonality it reveals. Regardless of our backgrounds, professions, or aspirations, men and women from all walks of life can meet on common ground and experience truth. When you look across the mat and see two teammates training together, you do not see society-projected identities. We don’t view these two as their professions. We don’t value these men based off their possessions. We don’t see mortgages or the cars they drive.

We see two human beings, enthralled in effort and trust, striving together on common ground for the pursuit of self-understanding through sport. All of the inessential is instantly washed away when that timer starts.

And we become free.

Free to create. Free to put forth effort. Free to try, and free to fail. Free to express our highest self through the way in which we perform this art.

Jiu Jitsu removes the societal walls that we have been forced to unknowingly hold up with our adopted beliefs. It removes the limits of common thought, and allows for expression of our highest ideals.

Jiu Jitsu breaks down the barriers of relationships. Through training, the walls between father and son dissipate. A mom of three can train with a twenty-something world champion, and those definitions become instantly blurred.

The titles disappear. Our own problems and worries vanish. And we are free to have the most human of experiences with someone who, had it not been for Jiu Jitsu, our paths would almost certainly have never crossed.

It is a beautiful thing to feel complete safety with a teammate while training a highly-competent martial art at a break-neck pace. To KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that this fellow human will not cause you an ounce of harm is an experience shared by few.

This is a trust that you just cannot find in modern society for there are no conditions to forge it.

For men and women of all walks of life to meet on the mat through the commonality of being human is the greatest gift Jiu Jitsu has given all of us. We forget our own personal stories. Our triumphs and struggles. We forget our roles and obligations.

Every time we step on the mat we experience the beauty of what it means to be truly human. To meet on common ground with another and collectively strive toward a better version of ourselves, and to do so through massive effort in the highest expression of an art, that is beautiful.

This is what Jiu jitsu gives us, and is what so often remains ineffable. Jiu Jitsu frees us and allows us to be what we have always been, but simply never had the medium to express.

Jiu Jitsu is the vehicle. Not the Road.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out Ten Important Life Lessons From Martial Arts

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