“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”
With Matakas BJJ opening next month, I have been purposefully training less so as to let my body rest for the many training sessions to come. Though my joints feel refreshed, I noticed that after a long training session of tight guard passing, I had brush burns all over my face. The body adapts, and loses adaptation, so quickly.
And then I had a thought which shook my core:
If my body has begun degrading so quickly from less training, has my character as well?
We’ve all heard the expression, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” The accessibility and commonality of cliches often hides their profundity.
Nothing in this universe maintains: we either grow or decay.
When I decrease my training, the callous-like adaptation of my skin gives way to new skin. Just, as I have come to believe, does my resolve and discipline give way to weakness.
We’ve all felt it. Whether coming off an injury or vacation, we begin training and observe our mind become overwhelmed, running a mile a minute telling us how tired we are. This subtle weakness, both of the mind and body, builds up with marginal time off, revealing a fundamental truth:
Your strength in the past does not ensure your strength in the present.
If we are not actively pursing our growth, then we are pursuing atrophy. We may not notice it, and the degradation may be minimal, but it’s there. Our character development demands that we train consistently. Our family, friends, and everyone with whom we interact, will directly benefit from our efforts, for as we grow so do those around us.
This is why, no matter our schedule, we must make a weekly effort to train Jiu Jitsu.
Every Sunday, I write my goals for the week, including how many times I plan to train Jiu Jitsu. I do not go to bed that following Sunday until I have met my predetermined number. I do this because I know, even when technical progress in this art is not a major priority that week, the cultivation of my being requires the adversity that only the environment of Jiu Jitsu provides.
When you are sore and have no energy, when training Jiu Jitsu seems like the last thing you want to do, that’s when you know you need it most. Because training Jiu Jitsu is so much more than training Jiu Jitsu:
Our growth as human beings is directly proportionate to our growth as martial artists.
The world reveals her beauty to the degree we have crafted our lens, a lens which is furnished in the fires of difficulty, of advancing through adversity toward a worthy ideal.
Train Jiu Jitsu because it’s awesome. But more importantly, train Jiu Jitsu because the world needs you to be awesome.