One of the truly unique things about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is the connections we make on the mat; after any stretch of time training at a gym, you are bound to make friends out of your training partners. You experience various challenges together, develop your skills together and, most importantly, make friends for life. I’d like to think that many of us are conscientious training partners; striving to reach our goals alongside our friends and training partners.
I was asked an interesting question recently by a friend who doesn’t train (often naive eyes can present us with new ways of looking at a question we have taken for granted.): Don’t you find it difficult sparring with your friends when you know some techniques hurt them?
My immediate response was simple: I don’t use techniques that hurt my training partners. The more I thought about this question however, the more I started to look at it from different angles… Continue reading
Plato once said “All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.” When I think of Plato’s idea of Virtue, two things come to mind: Integrity and Principles.
Regardless of the society we live in, the laws that govern us or any other external factors; the primary compass through which our lives are guided are our internal Principles. These Principles form the code by which we live by; they form our Integrity as people and, in my opinion, they are the Virtues that Plato expounded as our means to live by.
So what does it mean to have integrity? How do we preserve ours? We live in a world that demands much of us, at times we may even feel pressured to compromise our own principles for a (perceived) beneficial outcome. Continue reading
One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Jefferson:
“In matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock”
I have primarily concerned myself with the second half of this quote and the emphasis placed by Jefferson on not compromising ourselves for the sake of others. As an innovator and agent of change himself, Jefferson’s quote is a perfect fit for the concept I’ve been thinking about recently.
Recently, I turned my attention to the first half of the quote: “In matters of style, swim with the current.” We live in a rapidly changing world that demands that we are able to adapt, change and innovate. To keep our head above water, we have to learn to swim with the current: adapt, innovate and change to survive.
Many of us aim to elevate ourselves to reach success, but remembering those around you can often help us to reach that success faster if we help to elevate them.
So often we end up focusing purely on self-elevation; improving ourselves and trying to elevate our own situation. What about those around us? Our friends, family, colleagues or training partners? If we try to elevate them too, helping them to reach their goals, the whole process of climbing to the top of the mountain becomes a whole lot easier, if not a little less lonely. Continue reading
In academics, I see a lot of students changing their entire narrative- of the world and themselves- in relation to their expectations and their perceived success in meeting those expectations. I see this in us all. We don’t often realize this, but our expectations and our perceived success shape our reality.
We are all told to seize the moment, but what does it take to make that happen? How do we perfect our ability to make the most out of the opportunities life offers us? Whether it’s applying for that dream job, finding the courage to talk to someone new for the first time, executing a technique or running the perfect line, it comes down to something simple. Timing. Continue reading
We all walk a path that has been paved by our past choices and actions. We either walk this path with intention, having paved it with purpose, or we walk a path unintentionally, forced to because of causes we had no control over. Regardless, there is nothing to be gained by not seeing your path to its destination. Today I had three short thoughts about the paths that we walk…
Sometimes the path to your goal is paved. At times, you won’t see where it leads and at times the finish will not be in sight.
I am constantly thinking of ways to describe Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to people who ask me about it. The good old “Jiu-jitsu is a grappling art that emphasized leverage and technique to employ arm locks, leg locks and chokes to neutralize an opponent.” doesn’t always do it justice in my opinion. There is so much more to the art than just the physical act of submitting our opponent. The near-infinite nature of sparring with another trained practitioner, the mental focus & discipline required to develop, adapt and execute a strategy during sparring… The range that Jiu-jitsu- and indeed the larger realm of grappling- seems to stretch away endlessly. It’s almost as if it were a language. This is another way in which I like to explain Jiu-jitsu; as a language and, more specifically, like a conversation. Continue reading