Jiu-Jitsu Doesn’t Care About Your Bad Day

Posted: October 9, 2013 in All Eli's BJJ Posts, Most Recent Posts
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“Check your ego at the door.”

Is there a more ubiquitous cliché in the martial arts community than this? This is particularly prominent in BJJ, where getting smashed on and tapped out is a guarantee in the early (and sometimes not so early) stages of training. You are told to leave your ego behind when you you step inside to train, and the advice is smart and sound and hard to follow.

Addendum: leave the following at the door, because these are relatives of the ego:
• Your Politics
• Your Religious Views
• Your Bad Day

Why are we told to leave our ego at the door and why do I suggest leaving these other items at the door too? Because there may be no bigger impediment to your training than your comparison to your training partners, and the aforementioned subjects are the most divisive of those we typically color our personalities with.

I will defend against you, attack you, sweep you and pressure you the as you were anyone else and I will grow by my experience rolling with you. But what if I heard you put down my political candidate’s policy beforehand? What if you made a derogatory slur against the race of my dear friend you didn’t know I had? What if you blamed people of my religion for all the problems in the world today in that conversation you shouldn’t have been having? I may roll with you differently.

You see, I am human, and I have my opinions and views and beliefs. I know you do too. If I come to your church or lodge or job I expect to hear them. But the mat is different. The mat is that all-excusing place that absolves us of our differences to allow true communion and learning, transcending the restrictions of egoic perceived superiority and inferiority.

I don’t mean to say “all-inclusive” because it isn’t a matter of allowing everyone to bring all their baggage with them. Rather, the mat is all-excusing in the sense that while I understand you may be different from me in otherwise fundamental areas, on the mat we are on a similar journey and you are a sentient vehicle for my advancement of understanding.

So when you bring in your rough day, the one you had because you were passed over for a promotion or broken up with by your significant other, you damage the energy of the environment and poison the experience for all those you train with.

So why would anyone bring in their ego? Their irritation? Their frustration? Their overbearing personal baggage that no one really cares about being part of? It’s simple: you had a bad day. Or week. Or you think your whole life is hard. Maybe it is. Everyone has issues and problems. Everyone has bad days. Jiu-jitsu schools would shut down tomorrow if every day was a great day for everyone!

We go to train because we are having a bad day, and if we bring it on to the mat then we accomplish exactly the opposite of what came for which was to seek relief in our passion from the crap day or week or life we are having. So, instead, let it be. Quit sulking and pouting or complaining audibly or silently. Fake it ’til you make it has had to be my mantra on many occasions.

I have come in not only to train, but to teach, after horrible experiences in my life – some of the worst. But I know it was no one’s fault on the mat so I did my training or shared my knowledge and even managed a smile or two. I did it this way because I love my art, my school and the fact that I get to share it with people and they come to share it with me.

Life is rough sometimes. Suck it up. Sorry about your bad day, but it’s time to put on your big boy gi and get to training.

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