As we have done with my previous books, we wanted to give you a peak inside my newest book, My Mastery: Continued Education Through Jiu Jitsu. Keeping in theme with the original My Mastery, this is a book more about success in life than success in sport. Using the endeavor of skill acquisition as a means of personal growth, this book can be used by all those seeking a more meaningful existence, and is not exclusive to martial artists. I greatly enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading it.
With the overwhelmingly positive reception of my first book My Mastery: Learning to Live Through Jiu Jitsu, I felt it necessary to continue this journey together. Jiu Jitsu has become such a major aspect of my experience, and I have devoted a great deal of my waking hours to its understanding. As I mature, I find I am equally (if not more so) concerned with the growth of those around me in this art as I am my own. I love Jiu Jitsu, but even more so I love my fellow man. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I am afforded the opportunity to serve others through such a sacred medium.
At a certain point in one’s training, he or she finds that they have on the most basic level, learned most of the techniques in the Jiu Jitsu practitioner’s repertoire. True mastery, it turns out, is not found in accumulating each and every tool under the sun. True mastery is learning that there are really only a handful of tools, and it is the proper application with correct timing and setting that makes them so useful. In my own training from around Brown Belt on, I have found that the greatest gains in my ability to perform this art are not techniques, but concepts. Simple paradigm shifts that have an underlying unity in all positions. Mastery is a movement from the complex to the simple to the near invisible. The further I go into this art, the less it feels I am actually doing in its performance.
“True mastery is learning that there are really only a handful of tools, and it is the proper application with correct timing and setting that makes them so useful.”
I wanted to continue this journey together, and I thought the only means to best serve you, the student, is a practical application of philosophy in the art of grappling. My Mastery served as a great foundation in showing that there is more to Jiu Jitsu than armbars and berimbolos. We discussed the ultimate goal of Jiu Jitsu not in mastery of chokes, but in mastery of self.
It is my goal with this text to further this study.
I believe this book will serve all readers well, but if the original My Mastery was for the beginner or general student, this edition in our series will be more aptly used by the contemplative seeker who recognizes Jiu Jitsu as the vehicle that it is. The growth of the Jiu Jitsu community has seemingly adopted this “Jiu Jitsu way of life,” but this is only the beginning. Now, we collectively turn our attention toward what this mode of living entails, and the highest ideals that make it a reality.
In the following pages, I have put forth the most fundamental thought paradigms that have best served my goal of achieving whatever degree of technical mastery my circumstance allows. As with the first book, each of these topics translates off that mat into day-to-day experience. For the sincere student, it mustn’t be enough to simply understand Jiu Jitsu. We must seek to understand ourselves! I believe Jiu Jitsu, at least for our community, is the best means of doing so.
As the title suggests, I consider this book a continuation of the first. It is my hope that it will help the reader reach new heights in both Jiu Jitsu and in life. These books can be read in a series or independently, for I believe that which you study is only matched in importance by the sincerity with which you approach it. The fact that you have devoted a portion of your life to reading this book amid a world of flashing lights and blinking screens proves that you are sincere in your pursuit, and your success in this endeavor is assured.
This book is conceptual and philosophical in nature. It will not teach you how to do an armbar. It will, however, teach you why to do an armbar, what makes an armbar possible, and how we can use armbars to learn more about ourselves and the world in which we live, all the while never mentioning arm bars. My study of this art, from white belt to black, has given me more in the ways of personal growth and self-understanding than I had ever expected. Without a doubt, my commitment to Jiu Jitsu has been the most fruitful endeavor of my life.
I applaud you on your journey, and wish you all the best. As we began My Mastery, so shall we begin this text, with a reinforcing of our purpose guiding this endeavor:
Jiu Jitsu is the vehicle. Not the Road.
Chris Matakas Hamilton, NJ May 2015
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