On the day when I let it all go and laughed, something completely shocking and wonderful happened to me as the activities of the day were drawing to a close –
I got my Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).
I found Martial Arts in my early 20s; my first practice of Muay Thai, provided a physical outlet balanced by the underlying Buddhist philosophy as taught by our teachers. I began my Jiu-Jitsu Journey in my late 20s, and BJJ was a God-send and point of reference for all things in my Life. Within Martial Arts, I have seen significant spaces of time where I’ve not practiced. Those spaces have not been the best of my years, and with more age and awareness, I’m hopeful I won’t see years away from a martial arts practice as this most recent return has shown me how much I need it.
Receiving my Purple Belt, from someone as decorated and respected in Arte Suave (The Gentle Art) as our Mestre, Professor Aldo Caveirinha, was a huge step in re-committing myself to this Journey in Martial Arts. His words to me were that I’ve always been loyal and humble, which means a great deal, because I strive to live up to a personal code, which values loyalty as it relates to realness, and humility regardless.
Getting back on the mats over the past year has not been an easy task. I had some very serious doubts about my ability and if I was any good, concerns about my health having already experienced a few significant injuries, and was in quite a vulnerable mental and emotional space as I was healing in the aftermath.
“Little did he know…”
It still sounds odd to voice but without my Faith, my ‘home team’ to quote That Ninja Kiree (pictured), and Jiu-Jitsu, I don’t know where I’d be.
All of the above saved me.
I was in a very dark space a year ago. I’m still having aha moments opening me up to how imbalanced and far from my Truth I was in the five years away from training. Without the reminders that Jiu-Jitsu taught me before my time off the mats coming back, I might still be struggling, or worse.
But Jiu-Jitsu taught me. It taught me these thoughts verywell:
From Getting Smashed to Flowing with the Go – In Life, you get smashed, don’t fight getting smashed, flow with it, go with it, and most of all, learn from it.
It’s not about how many times you submit someone, it’s about whether or not you submit – You will have to submit. Time and time again. Sometimes you’ll have to submit when in a position you’ve already submitted to and thought you learned to avoid. Submit anyway.
Keep rolling – Did you show up? Then that’s a win. Did you learn? Then that’s a win. Did you win, even if those were the only two wins? Then that’s fun.
And as our Mestre teaches:
Train hard, fight easy.
Whether on or off the mats, if we are prepared for the battles ahead, we can easily roll with it, because like Life, and this is probably why I love Jiu-Jitsu so much, it’s a Journey.
The Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle has helped my health, overall well-being, and it’s a very valuable part of my Life. That means even more because of the time I spent away from it.