|Mr Tom McAlpine expressing his joy after getting his well-deserved purple belt yesterday at the BJJ Labs|
While nobody likes to tap to a choke or a joint lock, everybody understands, or at least should, the value of tapping. It made me so happy to see the results of the poll as it confirmed my theory on why we love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so much: because it's a Journey Shared on the Mats (JSM)
No one who's done even a single session of BJJ can deny that it's a journey. Yes you will learn a skill or two even on your first day but you will immediately realize that grappling is not an easy, quick affair. But to be fair, the same is true for any endeavour in life worth pursuing, from table tennis to sculpture, ballet to javelin throwing or cooking to playing the piano. “Nothing worth having comes easy”, the saying goes.
Part of the attraction of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey is that it's a shared one, and shared so intimately. Losing a practice match in table tennis or missing the C# during rehearsal is definitely frustrating but it's nothing like your partner choking you out after sitting on your chest! Also, as pissed off as you are at getting caught, part of you always goes: Nice one!
|Our coach Martyn Cahill congratulating Michael Carroll on his new purple belt at the BJJ Labs|
We closely share each others ups and downs. We know how they feel from first hand experience. We hug, fist-bump and pat backs to connect with each other. We know our "well done" was heard, but we still insist on reaching out and shaking their hand.
Finally, the journey must be shared on the mats. Living in England, I know tons of football fans who go thru months and months of religiously following football (that’s soccer to our American amig(a/o)s) without ever kicking a ball on a field. That’s not the same in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. While you don’t have to be a mat-slave or pro-fighter-hopeful, you need to be at least a Part Time Grappler to truthfully share the journey of BJJ.
Don’t misunderestimate what I mean, I love blogging (with people like Meerkatsu, Georgette, Meg, Cane, Slidey, Allie et al constantly pouring their hearts out who could resist!) , chatting to my BJJ-buddies, going to parties with them, reading mags and watching Mr Ribiero et al discussing the “aspect of the momento” for hours on end on YouTube nad DVDs but nothing replaces that cold feeling of the mats touching my bare feet. It’s like someone reached out and turned down the “Volume” dial on life. When that happens, I always look across the mat and catch a glimpse of the same feeling in the eyes of my pyjama-clad friends. The JSM is the most important part of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and without it, it’s all just silly.
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