The Mat

Adopting Brasilian jiu-jitsu as an art form, a sport, lifestyle or an exercise comes with fast assumptions around violence. The popularly touted self-defence or MMA marketing angles foster those assumptions and not much is spoken about the development of the inner warrior outside the quiet circles on the mat. What do you learn in BJJ?

How to render an opponent unconscious? How to tear limbs off a body? Mmmm. Meh. Maybe. What have I actually learned in one year:

  • breathe peacefully under extreme pressure
  • align and synchronise your physical, emotional and psychological warriors (for want of a better word- you can call them centers, forces, aspects or just simple parts of your being) to overcome adversity; i.e. keep your sh*t together
  • explore, be creative and stay playful when it comes to Exercise
  • think in concepts that can be applied to various scenarios
  • always be problem solving
  • be kind and respectful to others (even “enemies”) no matter their status on the mat (read, in life)
  • be firm but kind to yourself in working out your weaknesses
  • have courage
  • you progress by helping others’ progress

You can certainly learn some of these lessons indirectly through a lot of other sports but few are directly intentional at promoting and developing these lessons. In fact, all of the above here came across in one 90 minute training session. But you get to repeat it as often as you train because we tend to suck at being good people if we don’t remind ourselves.

The Mat.

And these essential lessons for kids, timely reminders for big kids, need to be experienced IRL for growth, not simply read in a quote or book somewhere. It’s just words on a page until you grok it.

And it’s not for everyone too: thank goodness not everything is for everyone. Diversity is necessary and i’m pretty sure there is a channel out there where you can experience the same character development but regardless, one of the other lessons is: fill your days with passion so you can flow passion into everyone else’s passions.

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