i first start off by sharing something very raw. very close to myself. almost secret. then, i do something called stripping it to the bone. i share in this way because it’s hard for most and not for me. TMI is an acronym I’ve learned to live with. in most social settings it is a curse but in writing it can be a blessing. i write naked.
for three months i have been training in Brazilian jiu jitsu. i have a training partner who comes over regularly and we roll in the garage. rolling is a form of controlled combat. defense and offense switch quickly. it is almost impossible to know who is winning when rolling unless you have studied the art. learned the language. when my kids see us rolling they have said it looks like baby bears playing. it is much like that but our play is a form of battle.
we listen to each other as we roll. we are practicing techniques that are hundreds of years old. utilized at first against the samurai. we bend arms, and choke each other out. practicing for the unknown. we tap the mat. we tap each other. tap. tap. tap. if you can’t tap with your hand, you can say, “tap.” that means your joints are about to break so stop. that means you are about to pass out so stop. that means you can sense a sharp pain coming on strong so stop.
there is a lot of trust you must have with a training partner. we literally are holding each other’s lives in the balance. yes, it’s in a garage or dojo. it’s not battle. it’s not a street fight but if there isn’t proper communication there could be a trip to the hospital. when rolling your entire body is utilized. your toes. your fingers, and all of the major muscle groups. soreness is usual. ibuprofen becomes your friend. the goal is to survive a submission or submit your opponent. in the roll you flow from one position to the next without even knowing. you can lose your leverage in a moment. you can see an opening and go for it. an arm, a leg, the back. always protect your back.
egos are checked every training day. the more you learn the less you know. the more you see how wide open this training day, this battle is. you realize jiu jitsu flows over into your life choices. wanting to be faster. stronger. drink more water. eat better. to gas out less. gassing out is when your lungs and your entire body is flat out of energy. you can tap out for being gassed. i’ve heard stories of people puking because they’ve lost it all. i never puke. i am getting better. i have gone from someone who was scared to death to end up on the ground in a street fight, to someone who is competent. who can go to my back and choke out my opponent or break their arm. easily. if i wanted to.
the thing about jiu jitsu is you don’t have to. you have the power to control the fight. you can smother your opponent and let them gas out, until the police arrive. you can choke them out and have them wake up ten seconds later as you have gotten up and run away. you can control posture of your opponent and negotiate terms. “dude are you sure you want me to break your arm. are you sure you don’t want to quite fighting.” and never have to throw one punch.
that’s the beauty. never throwing a punch. jiu jitsu allows for peaceful negotiation even after being attacked. it is an ever evolving ancient art, brought from Japan to Brazil to the world. new techniques are made daily. new champions and new academies are made daily. forty year old white belts like me are made daily and are becoming aware of the value of negotiation. finding community on the mat. in the garage. in the dojo. where muscle is built. where fat is stripped. where minds are sharpened. where peace exists. right in the mist of battle. peace exists. peace exists.
For all my training partners. Oss