I have always tried to understand things on the simplest level of abstraction. I believe Jiu Jitsu is best learned when we see specific techniques for what they are, the manifestation of underlying principles. When we learn how an arm bar works, rather than simply doing an arm bar, the mysteries of Jiu Jitsu begin to reveal themselves.
Life is no different.
Though expressed in myriad ways, life seems to be a constant exercise of only a handful of skills. Perhaps the most important, when learning to function within our modern world, is problem solving: to inherit a situation, with aspirations of molding circumstance according to your will, and then formulating a plan of action to achieve that intended result through calculated effort.
Jiu Jitsu trains our problem solving ability out of necessity. In any given roll, the positions, grips, and a constant volley of reciprocal techniques between partners presents seemingly endless variables. With no two rolls being alike, and with each training partner presenting a completely unique problem set, we are constantly tasked to find the most efficient means of solving ever-changing problems.
Is there a more worthwhile skill for a growing individual?
We will never be free of problems. We must simply seek out bigger and better ones. We do this in the world as we aspire toward greater professional and personal heights, but we also do this in ourselves.
“Instead of aiming to be the entity without flaws, you’re aiming to be the entity that continues to realizes its flaws and overcome them.”- Jordan Peterson
Self-development is a constant process of evolution, daily fighting to see one’s own shortcomings, formulating an actionable plan to rectify them, and then doing so. Our humanity, like our Jiu Jitsu, lies on an infinite continuum and can always be improved. Our potential is too vast and our time is too limited to believe that our personal growth has an end.
To become what you are requires a lifetime of effort. Daily removing sub-optimal patterns of being as we seek out better ones, living a life of self-actualization is a ceaseless adventure in problem solving; as our skills grow, so will our obstacles.
Jiu Jitsu is the laboratory in which we gain invaluable reps in solving the task at hand. The problems of life and the problems of Jiu Jitsu are fundamentally no different. We are tasked to change the situation before us, and with purposeful effort guided by a preconceived ideal, we will do just that.
Solve the problems in Jiu Jitsu. It’ll make the problems in life less daunting.