Checkers or Chess?

A lot of people shy away from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because of the difficulty and that is quite understandable  because complexity it is not for everyone just like chess is not for everyone.   But the people who do play chess are a special kind of breed in that they like challenge and strategy, and enjoy the involvedness of the game.  Ask a chess player if they would like to play checkers (a very simple game and probably an insult to chess players), you will get the same reaction by asking a BJJ player if they prefer to build sandcastles.

Martial arts in their entirety are very complex but that’s what keeps our interest going because of the never ending research and experimentation.  I often advise martial arts instructors to take up and train BJJ and then decide, after 5 years, whether they should continue or not. Not the other way around ie think about it for 5 years and then take it up.  That way, they don't waste those youthful years.  That applies to anbody in any martial art, of course.

Every martial artist develops their own techniques, strategies and solutions to their problems just like  a chess player.  These are life skills and what better way to help the young find their way into the big world.

Play the Stock Market

This blog is particularly meaningful for the BJJ martial artist but hopefully interesting reading for everybody which can relate to Kickboxers as well.  ‘Death type matches’ in BJJ are no different to mates wrestling in a school yard where nobody learns anything except for demonstrating who has the highest testosterone level. In many BJJ schools (including my own), people will do almost anything to avoid tapping out regardless if their arm is ready to snap in half.

Use this analogy; if somebody is holding a hot rod right up against your face and you know it’s only a matter of time before it makes contact with your skin, why would you not concede defeat and tap out early?   So why do many people turn blue in the face before tapping out?  Blame it on the ego, I guess. Being submitted does not mean being defeated. The idea of ‘rolling’ (wrestling) is to ‘give and take’ (famous words from Sensei Benny), which otherwise, potentially somebody is going to get hurt, or at least hurt their ego.  The best deal is to slow it down a bit and save the extreme aggressiveness for the arena if you want to see what you are made of.

Think of the Stock Market.  Experienced people do not go in ad hoc.  Smart stock market investors carefully analyse situations to get the best possible results.  Students need to do exactly the same if they want the best results.  The point is you are investing time, money and effort so why not train BJJ wisely.

Welcome to the Family

The martial arts industry is more like a martial arts society where people meet and share a mutual passion.  What a great way for humans to get together and form friendships and help each other.  I remember when I started BJJ (5.5 years ago), Australia’s International Cage Fighting icon, Elvis Sinosic, said to me, ‘welcome to the family’.  That I have not forgotten and I now regard all my students and other close martial arts colleagues as family.  The Father of Karate in Australia, Hanshi Tino Ceberano, always addresses me as his little brother.

I look at our karate kids and often think about them as individuals and I make an effort to greet and speak to them as often as possible; that’s the way I would’ve liked to have been treated when I was young but we were brought up differently in the martial arts when I first started 37 years ago.  Sitting at a restaurant with some of the students recently, I was really admiring the view and thinking; ‘all these people here together tonight is a result of my passion and dedication’.

Exploring the other arts such as Kickboxing, BJJ, MMA, has further expanded the family.  Even people who I have worked in the Police Force and have not seen for many years or even met, the martial arts has finally brought us together.  I have trained many police over the years and some of them have even made Superintendents; it’s like a family within a family, some still training with me.  It’s an unusual and wonderful feeling meeting up with a number of police officers, on the weekend at Richard Norton’s seminar, wearing gi’s and speaking a language making others shy away from the conversation; that’s just police culture, I guess. 

There's a big family get together at the end of the year (Xmas Dinner and Presentation Night).  I hope to see everyone in the one room on one night.  We always hear the saying, ‘never forget family’.  How true is that in the martial arts!