In a fight, I would win.
We all think that.
Some call it the Warrior Spirit, that fiber in us that wants to conquer, wants to engage and win. As Black Belt, former international competitor and business owner, Pete Roberts puts, “There is a part of us that craves combat, yearns to test ourselves.” It’s as though it is programmed into us. We all envision somebody we can beat in a fight.
But that can be a numbness, and we are born numb. Numb to the truth.
There is an antidote to this lie: Jiujitsu.
The ability to defend oneself is important; strength is never a weakness. A man should be able to defend himself and others if the need arise. If the day comes and you are found unprepared with only your pride to tell you otherwise, the consequences will be a bruised ego, and perhaps worse, the jeopardy of your well being and perhaps others’. In the words of psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, “A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man, who has that under voluntary control.”
That natural anesthetic to reality that we are born with, that tells us we are the Alpha of our own little worlds, is only a story we carefully construct and narrate to ourselves daily. It is not the truth. We tell ourselves this so we can feel better. This little self-proclaimed narrative is not true strength. True strength can be found only through discipline.
Jiujitsu is that discipline and it can be used with incredible effectiveness in a fight.
Jiujitsu is not a religion, but it has a spiritual dimension to it. It is an art and a science that not only teaches you how to defend yourself but also forms your character. It is the great equalizer. It is for everybody, but not everybody can do it.
Jiujitsu training has a high attrition rate. Only the lowest percentile actually reaches black belt after a 10-12 year process, which is not even the true end of the path. And it is a path. It is not a single event in which you learn five moves to subdue an attacker. It is not three-step program, or a one-time lesson. It is a discipline and a virtue. It must be practiced again and again and again. Some, however, do not even make it past their first training session.
There are no naturals in this art and science. It does not matter how fast you are, how high you can jump, or how much weight you can lift. It will attack and crush that part of us that we hold and protect so dearly as men, our egos.
It will hurt, and it will be frustrating, but that is the surgeon plying his steel to your pride, cutting the fat from your character. It will rain humility down upon you. But it will make you more. Your ego will be replaced by strength and self knowledge.
Humility is seldom taken on willingly. It is usually inflicted. It’s the foundation of virtue and character and it is a difficult—if not the most difficult—virtue to practice.
The first time you train, there is a good possibility you won’t go back again. Why do something that hurts? Why? Because there is an honesty learned on the mat. There is an irrefutable truth there, something you can’t explain away, something you cannot make excuses for. When you are there on the mat, you can only use what you have. You can’t talk or boast your way out of a choke.
Only those who persist are freed from their ego, freed from themselves. Some, after taking a look in the mirror, will run away from what they see, satisfied with their lie. But for those that pursue, they will find something; they will find answers. They will learn about themselves and they will learn a discipline that can be applied to any aspect of their life.
Juijtsu is not the only way, but it is a superior way. It is a difficult path, but once truly undertaken, can teach you how to fight, how to be comfortable in the chaos of a fight, and how to value true humility. In the words of the greatest samurai warrior, Miyamoto Musashi, “If you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything.” Once you start, you will see the patterns appear. You will understand something others do not. You will understand what it means to conquer, and to be conquered, but what you will learn most importantly, is how to conquer the weakness within you.
So test yourself. Are you really that badass? Or do you just think you are—know you are? Who will you be on the day that fight comes? You can take your chances as you are now, or you can prepare. You can ready your hands for War.