One of the most common things you will hear from long time Jiu Jitsu practitioners is how Jiu Jitsu helped them transform their life in better. But how does Jiu Jitsu do that? What can you do to help the process?
Getting out of the comfort zone
Ever had a huge interview coming? A big event that you, in one way or another, had to perform to some expectations? You most likely did. And if you did, you also felt the jitters, the nervousness and the emotional response your brain and your body gave for that particular challenge. In those very moments you were out of your comfort zone. You were taken away from the situations you were used to dealing with and were put in front of one you, maybe, had no idea how to deal with. Did you successfully manage to deal with that situation and perform accordingly? If yes, good for you. You probably gained something good from that, whether money, something tangible or anything else. If not, there probably have been consequences. Perhaps a lost opportunity, lost money, etc.
How does Jiu Jitsu help here? Jiu Jitsu is one very effective way of getting out of the comfort zone and learning to control your emotional responses. Jiu Jitsu puts you in tough situations where you have to act and take decisions in an instant. Think of the last sparring round of a training session. You’re sparring with a big guy who is also experienced, you have one minute left, you are completely gassed out, yet you somehow have to try to survive in his full mount. In these moments, you have to take tactical decisions that will lead you to that outcome, all while you are completely exhausted and the big guy is trying to submit you. The decisions you take here will have consequences. Some of the decisions you make may have small consequences, like allowing the opponent to progress, while some can have a disastrous consequence, in that you get submitted. Whatever happens, the consequences are, however, limited to the mat and that sparring session. To take this to the next level, try to participate in competitions. You will notice that when the competition day arrives, you will be put to the test by the emotional response your brain will give to the challenge. But it gets better. The more you do this, the more you get used to being out of your comfort zone. You will learn how to control that emotional response and still be able to perform and that is one skill that transfers to real life situations as well and is invaluable.
UFC vet and BJJ black belt Din Thomas was in the news recently when he promoted his student UFC Champion Tyron Woodley to BJJ Black Belt, in the cage after the victory:
Thomas had a great analogy about life being just like training Jiu-Jitsu:
“Martial Arts teach you to be diligent. Nowadays everybody seems to be crying about the economy. Its not as good as we would like. I know, I get it, and I understand. But I feel like people are just giving up and complaining and waiting for a miracle. Get off your *** and do something about it. Life is like training in BJJ. Sometimes you get mounted. Sometimes a guy will have your back. But you have to fight out of it. You keep going. You may have to tap every once in a while and start over, but you keep fighting. Some guys will put pressure on you just like in life, how will your respond?“
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