A 40-something mother of three loses weight.A 60-something businessman learns how to defend himself.Little Johnny gets better grades in school.
These are tangible metrics with which we measure the success of our program, but as is so often the case, the most meaningful aspects of our growth are the hardest to quantify. Character development will pervade into all aspects of the student’s life, and will present itself through various means, but what about the virtues that result in in-action?
Though they can’t be measured, they must be acknowledged. Without question, one of the greatest benefits of the practice of Jiu Jitsu is the cultivation of empathy.
Consider the nature of Jiu Jitsu from an experienced student. On a DAILY basis, he/she is put in a position of physical dominance over another to the point where physical injury or worse is made possible, and in this cradle of calamity, executes no harm. Remember again what a choke is. It is taking your partner to the point of death, and upon their acknowledgment of your success, letting them go without ever inflicting pain.
From a purely psychological perspective, this is an abnormality in nature, and certainly society. To be in a position of complete dominance relative to another, and to consciously avoid causing them harm at all costs, this is the kind of experience that breeds a more empathic populous.
The stud, 11-year-old yellow belt who time and time again puts his partners in submissions, and calmly and safely completes the task and disengages, is learning far more than Jiu Jitsu. He is learning empathy. The only reason why he is in a position to be so dominant is because he went through such adversity himself. He knows what it is like to be vulnerable, and having experienced it himself, takes the utmost care of his partner.
Once a nail, now the hammer, he remembers the plight of the nail.
This is what the human race needs. This same empathic-driven child will grow to be an adult who will treat co-workers, family, and friends with equal compassion and empathy. There are no tangible metrics for this, but this is the value that Jiu Jitsu provides.
Teaching people of power to empathize with the needs of those whom they have the power over.
This transcends all areas of human activity and is the quintessential need if a society is to flourish. Our young students will grow up to play large roles in this world. It is through Jiu Jitsu that they will do so with empathy, and this is worth the price of admission.