I am often ask why I train BJJ. Friends, family and colleagues see the bruises and the injuries and the time required on the mat and they just dont understand. We do it for many reasons, some are common to all of us, and some are not. Some of us want to build confidence. Others humility. Some want strength, others speed or flexibility, and some of us want it all. Some want to have beautiful jiu-jitsu flowing out of us, on the mat and in our everyday lives, like some sort of magical positive energy. Some of us just need to test ourselves, old or young, to better understand who we are. You can't get closer to your own limits as when an opponent is cutting off your air or blood and you feel the world leaving your mind.
At the same time, it is all about trust. We have to trust, maybe even love one another, in order to gain what jiu-jitsu has to offer us. Anything short of this misses the mark in my opinion. And, as I have progressed however slowly in this sport, I have also realized you have to give it away to really receive what BJJ has to offer us. Teach, share, learn, watch. Paradoxical but very true.
So as you finish your training and prepare to join us here in Bangkok on the mats for two great days, consider a few things. This is about learning and growing as much as it is about winning. Sure, we all want that beautiful custom made GOLD medal around our necks, but alot of guys and women will be going home winners who dont have one of those precious medals. So keep it positive. Always.
Respect the referrees. They are human and are not perfect. They will do their best. They will make mistakes. Sometimes you will benefit from their mistakes and sometimes you may not. Next time, help us referee and you will learn a new perspective of BJJ.
Respect your opponents and their coaches. They poured hard work, sweat and blood into the mats in order to provide you with a challenge. When you shake their hand to start your match, remember and honor that. And when it is over, show respect and humility, win or lose.
See you there-