Written by Andrew “Major” Johnson, BJJ black belt -Andrew trains under Joshua “Foca” Miller at Gracie Barra Lexington, SC.
Recently some of our students attended a regional competition and did extremely well. Like any other school, we’ve had times when our competition results were not as good.
I told them I think doing well as a school in a tournament is a powerful motivator, but it’s also a good opportunity to say a word about the concept of “self” compared to the concept of “others.”
In speaking to one of the students who did particularly well, I commented that when he came to the mats for the very first time, he had nothing. I think I shocked him a little with such an extreme thought – but think about that for a second and I believe you will agree it was true for every single one of us.
To be sure, some students have a great wrestling background, and most of our training partners are fine individuals, and my buddy is a wonderful friend to many, an honest and caring human. And he had some stand up striking skills. But as far as Jiu Jitsu, all he has now was given to him by “others.”
Not only higher ranking folks, but also his fellow students – because *none* of us are born with knowledge of Jiu Jitsu.
In our modern society of selfies and the “look at me” generation, the concept of “self” often dominates the contributions of “others.”
When you win, it’s just your hand raised for sure, and since there is no one out there on the mat with you, it’s easy to conclude you are solely responsible for your success. While it’s ok to count the cost of the work you put into your training, there is the other dynamic of the work “others” put into helping you along.
Consider that if you stepped out on to those competition mats with the lack of skill you first brought to the gym, do you think you would have had the same results? No one wins double gold after their first day in Jiu Jitsu class. Your results are not only the product of your hard work, but the contributions of “others.”
What is the difference between *the you* that now exists, and *the you* that first stepped out onto the mats for your first day of class? That difference is “others.” I say this to emphasize your training partners are the real value in your training.
The most important point I can make is when you have drawn from “others” what you need, be sure to give back to “others” who are not as skilled as you.