I am not qualified to give life lessons but from all the years I have spent competing in Jiu Jitsu and MMA, teaching my own students, and diligently studying many sports who I tend to be attracted to such as Surfing, Football, Soccer and the Olympics be it winter or summer – I have been able to narrow down 4 key components to most successful athletes and I believe these principles apply not only to Jiu Jitsu but Martial Arts and life in general.
Purpose – a sense of purpose will give a student a much greater level of focus and discipline. As Nietzsche said ” Given a big enough why people can bear almost any how”. Seek your source of inspiration within or with those closest to you. When becoming successful is as important as breathing no one will be able to stand in your way.
Passion– many students tend to use results as motivators. The next belt level or a medal at the next tournament can be your sources of inspiration but not passion. Your love for your craft should be a natural flow of diligent practice. If a student is focused, healthy and disciplined in his practice – improvement should be the main drive. Always seek the perfection of your skill, physical attributes and mental capacity and don’t get distracted by results.
Patience– Malcolm Gladwell in his brilliant book ‘The Outliers’ talks about the 10,000 HOUR RULE- One of the main claims of Outliers is that putting in 10,000 hours of practice is a prerequisite for great achievement.
I couldn’t agree more.
Receiving my Black Belt from Renzo Gracie after 7 years ( my first 5 years I trained at Gracie Barra under Master Carlos Gracie Jr) was one of the great honors of my life but I truly believe that it wasn’t until a few years into my Black Belt that I really came into my own as a student and teacher.
Most of us are not seeking to be world class but to become the best our potential awards us.
I truly believe with 2-3 days /week of dedication during 10 years, will bring any student to a level of skill he or she might never thought possible. I’ be witnessed it over and over with my own students.
Perseverance – when you do something for so long that you forgot what most will ever learn, you are bound to hit some bumps on the road. Excitement will come and go and that is why Passion, Purpose and Patience are essential.
But when the first three fail is when the good stuff happens, the times that you have to dig deep and call upon that part of you that just won’t quit for the sake of proving the world wrong. Just because you can!
One of my favorite stories is of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his ship the Endurance!
When stuck on the ice during an expedition to the South Pole, Shackleton and his crew had to subexhist on tents over a cap of ice no thicker than 3 feet, eating seal meat for 18 months. When the ice melted they fled to a barren Island miles from nowhere. Shackleton finally sailed 800 miles to bring rescue back to his crew. Every care member made it back to England alive. Sir Ernest Schackleton’s family moto was Fortitudine Vincimus ” Through Endurance We Conquer”.
My advice to anyone practicing Jiu Jitsu or martial arts is that it is not a past time but a life style. If you think you love it now wait till you reach the 10 year mark. I am have spent over 20 years on the mats training and every time I learn a new technique I still get that excited and perplexed feeling as if it were my first year of training.
For our future on the mats!