When we know our values, we can easily measure whether or not our actions are in accordance with them. Values are the measuring sticks with which we determine the worthiness of our actions. To be better associated with one's own values is to remove a lot of the needless activities of daily life.
Have a clear-cut plan on what you wish to improve, and seek opportunities to improve it. The more conscious and honest we can be about our shortcomings, the more strength we will have to improve them. We are going to train hard anyway, we are not going to sweat any more or less. It is simply imperative that the sweat is properly directed.
The beautiful truth about service is that we are afforded countless opportunities to be its vehicle. Every interaction with another is an opportunity to serve. From simply letting someone into your lane in traffic, to holding a door, to a kind smile. This is all service. I am humbled by this simple truth. We are given the opportunity to express the most meaningful use of our lives every time we interact with another sentient being.
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We must strive to become more daily. We must honestly assess our weaknesses and overcome them. We must work toward the highest possible version of ourselves. This is a worthy use of our time, but it is only when we do so with the ultimate aim of service to our fellow man that we really connect with something greater than ourselves. To contribute to the world in a positive way, this is the gift of life.
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To base your self worth relative to others is to play a losing game. If you are at the bottom, you will be filled with self-loathing. If you are at the top, you will be filled with self-aggrandizement and ego. This will most certainly be one of your greatest obstacles to achieving whatever degree of mastery you are capable.
I believe the real reason we pursue anything in life is not for the thing itself, but for who we become on the way to its accomplishment. We strive to accomplish things in the attempt to mold ourselves. The greatest benefits Jiu Jitsu will have in your life will have nothing to do with Jiu Jitsu. It is this simple understanding that allows me to persist in my study. Even on the rare days when I may not have a burning desire to practice Jiu Jitsu, I am reminded that my practicing Jiu Jitsu is more accurately my practicing to become a better human being. The lessons I learn on the mat will serve me in every area of life- personal development, relationships, business, and the like.
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I believe we must pursue mastery for who we become along the way in its achievement. When we progress in Jiu Jitsu, that newfound experience and wisdom transcends into all areas of our lives. We use Jiu Jitsu as the vehicle for growth, but that growth radiates over all of human activity. Someone who devotes time and energy in learning this skill is learning far more than how to subdue an opponent. The student learns persistence, perseverance, pattern recognition, problem solving, and most importantly, learning how to learn. In the arena of life, these virtues are far more valuable than any guard pass.
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As an instructor, my goal has always been to use Jiu Jitsu as a vehicle to help our students achieve their goals, whatever the case may be. I have yet to find a better vehicle for growth, and the moment I do I will certainly pursue it with the rivaled fervor that I approached Jiu Jitsu.
I am a better son, brother, friend, and teacher because of the daily sacrifice and effort I put toward my craft. WIth all the advantages modern society has created, it has left us wanting. We no longer need to struggle to survive. Our basic needs are now met with minimal physical strife or mental challenge. Technology and the advances of man have left us over-stressed and under-performing. We are now forced to actively pursue our struggles. If we do not go out of our way to stretch our comfort zones and grow, no one nor nature will do it for us.
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Devoting yourself to a particular art is invaluable. The art becomes our vehicle with which we drive down the road of life. We use this vehicle to learn about ourselves and this place, to conquer fears, to become more of what we already are. In my own life, I have found most valuable the transferable skills of learning from jiu jitsu to all other facets of day to day study. In devoting myself with such commitment to this art, in undertaking the task of understanding jiu jitsu to whatever degree by circumstance allows, I have unknowingly learned how to learn.
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Jiu Jitsu forges friendships in a way I've never known. Being involved in an art as intimate as this, where bodily connection is a prerequisite, the common cultural boundaries of personal space are broken. You will never see more hugs, high fives, and physical expressions of love than on the mats.
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Imagine a true master of the art, someone with complete skill in every aspect of Jiu Jitsu. This master would not force anything. He would simply allow the roll to take whatever form it does, and in every position would act in the most efficient way based off what the circumstance dictates, and not what he himself prefers.
If Jiu Jitsu does not make you a better father, son, mother, daughter, wife or husband, you are missing the point. If Jiu Jitsu does not leave you viewing strangers in a kinder light, you are missing the point. If you are not better equipped to deal with the vicissitudes of life due to your training, then you are not really training.
Jiu Jitsu is meant to serve us, not the other way around. It is meant to make you more of whatever it is you already are. It is meant to separate the wheat from the chaff. It is meant to bring to conscious attention all that once went unseen. It is meant to make you more loving. It is meant to make you more wise, but less certain. It is meant to make us humble, yet supremely confident. It is meant to remind us of our frailty while simultaneously making us feel invincible.
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I wanted to get to the most essential aspect of my being, and look around for a while. I wanted to explore what I am in my most basic self. I wanted to chip away at all of the nonsense I have acquired through my twenty-nine years on this earth. I wanted to find truth. Thoreau went to the woods. I went to the mats. Jiu Jitsu has peeled the veil of daily life, and has shown me what lies beyond the curtain. We willingly accept the chains that circumstance forces upon us, and we grow to find comfort in them. We attach various fetters of day-to-day living to our being, and we do so with a smile. We accept these constraints for they come in the way of comfort. We accept conformity for it appears the path of least resistance. We strive toward the middle, and we run from ourselves.
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I have seen far by seeing through the lens of Jiu Jitsu. I have exchanged a great deal of physical health for these insights, and these were trades worth making. My efforts were worth the return. I have sacrificed much in the name of this craft. Not for trophies or belts or prestige. For these fall away like dust. I pursued this art so fervently because it was not actually Jiu Jitsu I pursued. It was myself.
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It appears, at least from my perspective, that each and every position in Jiu Jitsu regardless of the seeming complexity is really governed by no more than a handful of minimum viable products. Pursue to understand these essentials, and you will see that complexity is a myth perpetuated by lack of understanding, and it is this understanding which is possible for each of us.
Jiu Jitsu forges friendships in a way I've never known. Being involved in an art as intimate as this, where bodily connection is a must, the common cultural boundaries of personal space are broken. You will never see more hugs, high fives, and physical expressions of love than on the mats. Ultimately, this proves to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of our pursuit of mastery. Along the way, we learn to love others as we love ourselves.
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I have been given the rare opportunity to teach Jiu Jitsu for a living. This is a privilege that I wake up everyday grateful for, and a responsibility that I hold dearly. I understand how rare it is to be employed through a labor you genuinely love, and one which can be used as a vehicle for positive change in the lives of others. Even rarer still, I am often reminded of the quality of Jiu Jitsu I have learned, and the opportunity to have learned it.
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To know our values is to have a foundation on which to build a great life. Our environment and education will play a large part in influencing our formulation of this world view, but is ultimately ourselves that have the final say. We must decide what we value, and then live accordingly. After all, in the eyes of the world we could achieve great success, but if our actions do not coincide with what we ourselves truly deem worthy, we will find no peace.
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Quotes tell a story. A stringing together of a few words can leave you with an idea that changes the course of your life, and can direct you toward reaching your highest potential as a human. The story they tell is derived from the experience which inspired them, and it is our sharing that experience that allows for the quote to resonate so deeply within our being.