Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter cascao vital and runs cascao bjj hard knocks out of Las Vegas nv.
“The medals don’t mean anything and the glory doesn’t last. It’s all about your happiness.”
Jackie Joyner Kersee, 2-time Olympic Gold medalist in track & field
I was listening to an interview of Carlos Gracie Jr where he explained why it was more important to open your own BJJ academy than to want to be a champion at all costs.
What Gracie was saying intrigued me…
When you are no longer the champion everyone forgets you very quickly: fans, sponsors, media…Take the example of 4x world champion Guilherme Mendes, who retired from Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 26 after having won many big titles but not won everything. Guilherme was amazing the crowds with his dominating performances but as time goes by, less and less people would have remembered him. He could have continued but he realised that the glory and fame that are associated with champions is short lived if you don’t have something more meaningful to build your legacy.
Guilherme Mendes explained his reasons:
“Last year I won my 4th World title in the black belt division, the number that the IBJJF requires to make you eligible to enter the Jiu Jitsu Hall of Fame. My life has changed a lot and I feel very blessed to have the option to redirect my goals, dedicating myself to do something bigger than just competing.
It’s a new chapter in my life and to achieve my goals I’ll put the same effort that I’ve put to become the athlete that I am today. I want to lead my team, become the best I can be as a leader and professor, work to create the best athletes in the sport, keep innovating the art and build a team of champions that people have never seen before. Today, this is what drives me forward. I know that winning another gold medal would feel good for the moment, would make me proud of myself one more time, but I’m ready to do something bigger now and I know that I can do it.”
When we first start the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, most if not all of our goals revolve around our own self development. I want to learn this technique, I want to win this tournament, I want to be a world champion. But one day down the road, once most or all of your goals have been reached, things shift. Your purpose expands beyond yourself and your desire becomes about helping others reach their goals. This is a good thing.
When you open your own BJJ academy, you have the chance to help people grow with the values that BJJ or convey. The practitioner will remember for ever remember how much the academy, the instructor, the team, the discipline has helped them to grow.
When you teach others, not only do you pass your knowledge on, but your understanding of the material deepens. Adapting a technique to certain body styles, simplifying complex theories and tactics so that inexperienced students can comprehend and apply those lessons learned and even problem solving through the students sticking points all help your knowledge develop and mature.
When you pass on your experience and knowledge, you help progress our art beyond it’s current level. You see, when you coach the next generation coming up through the ranks, you can fast track their progress by not only teaching what has worked for you through the years, but what mistakes you have learned from as well. Your experiences good and bad have developed your game and style to where it is now. To pass on that knowledge will allow your students to forgo a lot of trial and error time and build on the years of experience that you have already gained.
Another positive aspect of putting others progress and growth above your own that is often overlooked is simply self happiness. Studies have shown that when you give to others, whether it is time, knowledge, help or money, people are almost always happier when compared to doing something for themselves instead. Our brain is designed to give and help.
We all have personal goals to strive for, and honestly there is nothing wrong with that. We need that time, so that down the road when it is time to give, we have something to pass on. Teaching techniques, sharing your experiences, leading by example on and off the mat all help develop the next generation. It’s something we all need to do on some level. You can do this by giving a little extra time helping the lower belts during class, helping with the kids class or even opening your own school and teaching full time.
The bottom line is that those who give in life see benefits of going beyond doing things just for themselves. Its not always easy, its requires a bit of sacrifice and a lot of time and effort, but the payoff is well worth it. If your not at the point yet to give back, at minimum give a thanks to those who are helping you grow and progress in life on and off the mat. Remember, samurai translates to those that serve. True warriors serve beyond themselves.
So you want to play a simple and effective half guard? Well, get your hands on arguably the best half guard player ever, Bernardo Faria’s DVD set, “Battle Tested Half Guard.” Bernardo is infamous for his simple, effective, and tenacious half guard. He has a game that is suitable for anybody at any age, weight, gender, or fitness level!