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     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



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