I have a good friend who as of the past few years has more or less inherited an opportunity to farm land that his family owns. I’ve seen him dive headlong into this farm of his with passion and conviction that is rare. He had the support he needed and all the things lined up that made his ability to focus on one thing he loved absolutely paramount.
It’s inspirational. Sometimes I’ll leave work in the middle of the day (his farm happens to be a mile from my office) and go help him pick produce or move heavy stuff. I feel a basic satisfaction tasting the hard work he does on a daily basis. I want to be involved. I call him and ask him how I can help more. Can I pay into a CSA? Can I help him build a website to promote his farm dinner projects? What can I do?
I was honored to know this friend before he came into this farm. I am even more inspired by him now.
An honest rolling session can lead to an honest conversation in the locker room after practice. Most white belts are in the process of learning how to simply not hurt themselves or others while rolling, along with getting down the basic positions, transitions and submissions of the art.
Techniques are probably easier to learn than the mindset required to progress through the belt-ranks. Often times that mindset comes in the form of an epiphany Or it comes in the form of humility being squished into your brain.
When you have a pleasant, but very challenging rolling session with another white belt and after you are both talking about how you’ve finally learned how to release your ego while rolling, accept inferior positions and work out of them with care, not reckless might, it’s a great relief You’ve not only related to one another on a very basic, simple, innocent level, you’ve also identified a training partner that you want to spar with and learn from moving forward.
Those are the people I want to keep around me. Those are the people I want to be more like. There’s no reason that white belts can’t learn from other white belts.
I’m shocked and saddened to write that one of the best kick-boxers to ever live has passed away. Ramon Dekkers at the age of 43 appears to have died in a motorcycle accident. Details are not flushed out yet, however it is a huge loss to the combat sports community as a whole. His style of thai boxing was the most thrilling the world had ever seen during his peak years.
I’m being honest when I say that this guy is who got me into kickboxing. I studied thai boxing in Boston years ago and watched Ramon Dekker highlights constantly, wishing I could be as fast an fierce as he was.
I’ve never taken performance enhancing drugs in my life. It’s easy to believe this because I’ve never put athletic performance and championship winning at the top of my life’s goals. I’ve always taken a rather casual approach to my physical well being. Not to say that’s the way to do it. I’m overweight and have been for most of my life, so that just goes to show you that my recent commitment to doing a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has altered my view on what it takes to be good, not even very good or elite at something.
So, am I “committed to excellence” like some people say they are? Well, I’m not sure. However, I know from the second I meet these types of people. There’s a fire in their eye. They’re willing to suffer through injuries while training. They’re not “holistic,” they’re all about the output from the input. Gold medals and first places simply are the only measure to their efforts. They’re also very hard on themselves.
The IBJJF (regulating body for international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition) is going to start drug testing. I’m not totally with how this will be implemented across the world, however there has been much criticism by some out-spoken BJJ competitors (Caio Terra for one) about how so many BJJ world champions are using juice. People are afraid that pure physicality will take away from the technique driven progress the sport has seen over the years. I’m guessing that is the case.
I’m not a black-belt. I don’t roll in the championship circles. I’ve never met a BJJ world champion. I don’t know first, second or third hand who may more may not be doping to win competitions. I’m thinking it’s going be to sad seeing the initial BJJ heroes fall from grace who might try to mask their doping and get caught by the IBJJF. Very poor people in poor parts of this world have been able to put food on tables and shelter over their family’s heads with BJJ. Egos will be shattered, but hopefully the sport will come out better for it.
What’s the difference between reading a self-help book on Subject-A and developing or joining a community around that topic? Well, I believe the difference is that many types of people can get inspired by these concepts of helping themselves, but the lack of accountability and mentorship are a limiting factor in the quest for success.
We can develop support around anything. That is a powerful idea. Where have I failed in the past where I could have succeeded? Where have I failed to offer support when I chose to look after myself instead?
I see so much potential for human growth in the purposeful building of communities alongside ideas. It’s not easy. There are a lot of barriers, but the age of togetherness can’t be ruled out because of how we’ve embraced seemingly isolationist-by-nature technologies.
I am here to build community. I am here to be held accountable and hold others to their highest potential.
The days can really blend together and change seems more of an abstract, sudden concept that isn’t currently happening to anyone. That’s how I usually look at it, anyways. I learn a new technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, then I forget it weeks later when I get put in that position when rolling. It’s sort of crazy to think of how many moves there actually are to know in BJJ. I learn one and feel great about it and think, okay, I’ve got that down, now, time for the next one.
But, you never are actually progressing if you don’t learn and retain it all. Black Belts know how to do pretty much every fundamental move and then-some. They understand positions before they occur. They also drill all sorts of situations and techniques to make them muscle memory.
I get frustrated with not retaining everything, because I feel like I’ll have a repository in my mind like Neo in The Matrix. But no, that doesn’t happen. I do put as much time into BJJ as I can, considering my schedule.
Then I grapple with a blue belt and a purple belt and I don’t get tapped right away. I am more aware of my body and of theirs. I go for submissions before they are completely obvious and I’m stoked that I even thought of it.
Suddenly, without thinking about it, I am in my body and am totally aware, without trying to be.