STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The human individual derives much value from the practice of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I have never met a man or woman worse off for having trained. I never will. The transformative power of Jiu Jitsu is rare in that all aspects of the individual are trained: the body is taxed in every facet of athleticism, the mind is challenged to attend to countless variables as we navigate kinesthetic and proprioceptive challenges, and, perhaps most importantly, the soul is challenged to a degree which civilian life simply cannot offer within such a well-ordered and affluent society.
I have never found a single activity which so rivals its effectiveness to completely alter a person’s life.
Philosophy sharpens the mind but does nothing for the body. Strength training builds the body but neglects the soul. But Jiu Jitsu attends to all of one’s humanity. Jiu Jitsu helps many lose weight with success they never found at the gym. Jiu Jitsu improves our problem solving as no math tutor could. And Jiu Jitsu molds the character of a person with the same capacity as the highest place of worship.
The world is speeding up faster than any of us is ready for. Our attention is pulled in every direction. Our calendars are filled and our leisure is empty. We only have so much time for personal development, and with so much stimulus competing for our attention, we easily neglect fundamental aspects of our being.
But we are the lucky ones. We have found something we love which trains every aspect of our character, and often, without our intent to do so. Jiu Jitsu provides a medium with which to purposefully strengthen our weaknesses, willfully choosing discomfort and resistance over a passive life.
We channel the most primitive aspects of our nature toward the most sophisticated ends, practicing vulnerability and dominance with our fellow man, free of consequence.
Whether we are dominating or dominated, we learn the nature of cause and effect, receiving instant feedback with every experiment we make. This immediate feedback loop creates an accelerated growth that the common holding patterns of adult life cannot.
Jiu Jitsu allows us to pursue our highest selves which much of our waking lives suppress. We are so often pushed toward the middle and away from ourselves. Jiu Jitsu brings us back. This book is not meant to improve your Jiu Jitsu. I have provided no philosophy regarding skill acquisition. Its sole purpose is to help you realize the wealth you already possess.
We tend to grow accustomed to the familiar to the point of blindness. Often, if we do not purposefully seek the value in something, we never find it. And sometimes the value is so ubiquitous that it goes unnoticed. My hopes are simply to remind you of the value that you have already found, to bring to conscious thought what you feel in your bones.
I have the tendency to think that who I am is who I always was, and in so doing, discredit the value and transformative nature of my experiences. Jiu Jitsu has been the victim of such myopic thinking. Jiu Jitsu has given me a quality of life I have never known. It has awoken me in ways I didn’t know I was sleeping. I have never been so challenged– physically, mentally, and emotionally– through one medium. Jiu Jitsu has taught me a sincerity for purposefully directed study that academia did not.
I never had to choose Jiu Jitsu; it was thrust upon me. A friend urged me to take an introductory class, and an hour later, my path in life became clear. I never felt like I pursued Jiu Jitsu; it pursued me.
That has been the case with all the most meaningful aspects of my life. No push was necessary. I was pulled and had no say in the matter. Considering you, the reader, have taken time out of your day to read about Jiu Jitsu, I assume we share a similar experience.
Our continued practice of this art is so much more important than we often imagine. A purposeful reiteration of the task at hand ensures our success. When we become consciously aware of the value of our practice, we develop the antibodies with which to face adversity and overcome the vicissitudes which we will find along our path.
“He who has a great enough Why can withstand any How.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
When we consciously understand this truth, we free ourselves of the grind, and find a deep and passionate gratitude which propels our continued efforts. We happily make sacrifices to practice this art, because we realize they aren’t sacrifices at all. Our finite time and energy, when put forth in Jiu Jitsu, has a greater return on investment than any area of human study.
We each stumbled upon this blessing. The articulation of its value is imperative. Increased understanding of the medium fosters an appreciation which provides the endurance to consistently strive toward our highest selves. The more clearly we understand this art, the more likely we are to use it wisely.