The practice of Gracie Jiu Jitsu- whether for Sports Brazilian Jiu Jitsu application, MMA, or self defence, lends itself to experiencing and embodying numerous paradoxes when we take a step back and look at the practice. Here are some examples we have come across:

– Become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Jiu Jitsu translates as ‘the gentle art’. But as any BJJ student, let alone anyone who engages in a consistent physical activity can attest to- injuries and roughness do happen. The foundation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is technique not strength. But when one adds strength to technique, the amount of power you can exert is incredibly high. There is also the element of equal action and reactionary force. Rolling partners can met each other’s exertion levels easily- soft or hard. When a student start learning BJJ they have no technique and so use what they have- strength, speed, endurance. They haven’t yet learnt enough to know how to be ‘gentle’ in this art. In addition to this one can and will end up in positions that are very uncomfortable (the real life self defence situation we are training for are far more than just uncomfortable!). The fact they are uncomfortable won’t change but how much your discomfort affects you and what your ability to deal with these situations and positions will!
– Jiu Jitsu is a one on one sport, but it is a team sport. They say it takes a village to raise a child. In Jiu Jitsu one’s whole team- coaches, training partners, and professors, all lend a hand in shaping each practitioner. You may step out on the mats as one person against another, but your entire training and all of your team is behind you.
– You must face defeat in order to succeed. You tap to learn. Tapping is actually one of the best ways to learn as it points out to you what you haven’t understood or implemented. If you begin to compete, this rule also applies. No one wins all the time or forever.
– In order to improve your technique you need to help others improve theirs. This is helping to develop your training partners, regardless of their rank. If they improve you improve right along with them. The more they succeed, the more you will as well.
– There is always something more to learn, ‘mastery’ can be achieved but it never ends. Hence, why belt progression takes so long and is gaged in terms of years of practice once you achieve the black belt.
There are literally hundreds of moves in BJJ; but it is by practicing the basics that you will become an expert. You can be an expert of one move or of one set of moves but that will never make you an expert of the whole art.
– I you want to be able to learn more you have to be able to unclutter and empty you mind(often of what you know or think you know already) in order to pay attention and really learn the activity at hand.
– You can have a lot of fun training but you must be serious about that training. If you aren’t serious you won’t learn, realize your potential, be able to react properly in situations, or be aware enough to take care of yourself and your training partners. If you’re not having fun then you may not wish to continue! Cultivate both.
– When you get uncomfortable (which can be often at first or in several different ways) relax.When you are relaxed you can use your body more powerfully because muscles aren’t engaged in tension and wasting both energy and oxygen. When you relax you also become able to think more clearly and involve more of your brain in what you are doing.
– The most important lessons you will take away from the jiu jitsu mats will be ones you are able to implement off of the mats. Maybe it’s reacting properly to a trip down the stairs, a fall from a bike, a self defence situation, or standing up for yourself. These are all lessons you learn on the mats but that are most important when used off the mats.
– By addressing and experiencing aggression and ego you can actively chose peacefulness and humility as an alternative. Until you face this in yourself however, you are not free to choose since you do not realistically know your ability or options.
– The more you improve and advance, the more humble you should become. Often new black beltssay they feel like white belts and are learning for the first time all over again. How’s that for humility?