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  • 2 min read 5 Comments

     Not long after finishing my recent blog post about integrity I found myself becoming depressed. I realized that while I had been offering up my thoughts on the subject I had forgotten my own personal integrity.

     For the last few years I have been struggling with my Jiu Jitsu training. In part because I’m still a white belt today and after training for so many years it's hard not to feel embarrassed by that (note the featured photo is from July 2014 when I promoted to blue belt by Travis Magalit, 8 years after starting in BJJ). I also had hoped to finally get my blue belt before I moved away from Los Angeles this spring. But focusing on that goal rather then on enjoying my training was making me miserable. Every day off I took, and every injury I had seemed like a huge failure. This was especially hard when I made the mistake of comparing myself to my peers who were being promoted, and in turn ignoring my own progress.

     There was also the external pressure from my friends, teachers etc.. They couldn’t understand why I wasn’t trying harder and following the standard path of advancement. But they don’t train for the same reasons I do and once again in comparing myself to them I was no longer following my own path, I was lost.

     In assessing this situation I recalled some advice I heard during my first Jiu Jitsu seminar at ModCom MMA. In between training sessions Matt Thornton (SBGI) encouraged us to consider why were there that day. He said something to the effect of  “If you don’t really want to be here right now, then don’t be here. Go surfing or do whatever it is that you really want to be doing”.  When I heard that advice I took an inventory of my feelings and realized that I had been quite uncomfortable all day and wasn’t enjoying myself at all. So despite having the feeling that I should be thrilled to be at the seminar, I decided to leave. I spent a wonderful afternoon at home relaxing instead.

     What Matt reminded me of that day was to stay true to the self, and live in the moment. It’s time to stop kicking my own ass and get back to enjoying life and enjoying my gym time, my way.  Part of being a Datsusara is about avoiding imposed suffering, be it external or the more tricky kind that comes from within.

     There is no honor in kicking your own ass.



     “Instead of dedicating your life to actualize a concept of what you should be like, ACTUALIZE YOURSELF. The process of maturing does not mean to become a captive of conceptualization. It is to come to the realization of what lies in our innermost selves.” 

    -Bruce Lee


    5 Responses

    Chris Odell
    Chris Odell

    February 22, 2012

    Good comment Jason, thanks and glad to hear you are back to it :)


    February 10, 2012

    Dude, i feel the same way. I have been nursing a back injury for 8 months without being able to train. I was killing myself inside. I would allow myself to think that my instructors were disapointed in me that i wasnt training sooner. But thats all because of how i felt about myself. Not being able to train made me disapointed with myself. I just started training again 2 weeks ago, and let me tell you, its def all about the training and lessons learned each day. I missed it. i didnt miss feeling like i was getting better faster than anyone, i missed the learning, and the feeling of success after the day was done. for me, thats the most important thing.

    Chris Odell
    Chris Odell

    February 09, 2012

    You are quite welcome Michael, thanks for listening.

    Thanks for sharing Keeley, good thoughts :)


    February 09, 2012

    As a practitioner of Ninjitsu, (7th kyu) BJJ (white belt) and MMA (2-0-0) myself, I have no desire to be graded unless its for my purple/black belt. In my opinion a grade should be given to you by your instructor at a moment of understanding rather than a test.

    I as you may already know have suffered rib injuries over the last 12 months disabling me to roll with much energy and explosiveness. One think that injury taught me is to relax more and to know your limits. It also taught me to observe and feel more. My BJJ has improve more by me watching classes while injured. Budo understanding, the way or path of the warrior is more mental than physical.

    A huge thing that improves my ground game is the people I train with. My head instructor is a very hard person, but understands injury as only asks to do your best. My fellow team mates aren’t a team, we are a family. We talk and help each other at all costs.

    If you ever get a chance, go to a seminar with Brian Ebersole, he has a great view on life and training.

    Kia kaha and Osu brother.


    February 09, 2012

    This was a really good essay. Thank you.

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