Updated: Feb 12
To our Students,
One night last week, there were about eight of us on the mat working on submissions from side control. In a flash of clarity, I suddenly become aware of the social aspect of our training. We were all together, hanging out with our friends. No one was alone in front of the tv. No one was alone eating cheetos in their parent’s basement. All these dudes were enjoying each other’s company and feeling connected.
And then I saw a group of young men walking into the bar next door. They too had fellowship. They too were not alone. But the activities these two groups were embarking on will yield such different results in the final analysis.
Something I learned from Huxley is that we all try to flee the self, it is the explicit aim of all major religions and the tacit aim of much of our daily action. Some of us aim downward, choosing the intoxicants that suspend personal identity and its inherent suffering as they numb the pain for a few hours. But there is another way.
Some of us aim up, and flee the self through transcendence of that self. This is why I love the Jiu Jitsu academy. Every night the mats are packed with people from all walks of life whose outward circumstance could not be more different, but inwardly, are the same. We are all working toward a goal that we deem valuable, that we have placed atop our hierarchy of values, above the television, the bar, and the cheetos. We are all aiming up.
Entropy exists. Things fall apart. It takes no energy to sit idle as our lives and our surroundings fall prey to time and decay. But to aim up is divine. To strive for that heavenly city on the hell, whatever it is to you, as you wade through the many obstacles that line your path, takes effort and patience and delayed gratification. It is the narrow gate that few find.
I remember long ago Professor Almeida told me, somewhat hyperbolic, that he only made friends with people who did Jiu Jitsu. I think what he really meant was only make friends with people who are aiming up — who are striving to transcend what they are to become what they might be and improve the world in proportion.
It just so happens that nearly everyone who does Jiu Jitsu is doing this.
This is why I love our students. This is why I am so grateful for my profession. Every night in the academy I spend time with people at their best, as they choose the purposeful suffering which leads to their further development.
Thank you to all the students and families at the Matakas Jiu Jitsu Academy. I’m so grateful that we are all aiming up together, and to lead this community has been one of the most meaningful endeavors of my life.
Let’s keep going,
Check out Professor Chris’s new book,12 Rules For Jiu Jitsu. Want to start training at our academy in Florence, NJ? Sign up for our Introductory Special and join the team!