Wednesday, June 12, 2013

There is nothing...

noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
~Ernest Hemingway

That's some tasty shit right there. Normally, "tasty" and "shit" should not be in the same sentence but you know what the fuck I mean.

Combat sports, crossfit, full contact bar mitzvahs, or whenever the fuck you like to do, one must ignore the victories of your opponents (or sometimes perceived opponents in the cases of rivalry) over oneself. Everyone progresses at a different pace, opponents may have a fucking amazing day, while you may have a shit day. It just happens. If you lose a fight, go back and read this shit again. If a rival beats your personal record, fuck 'em, then re-read this shit.

Secondly, Hanlon's Razor: it's not always about malice. I'm a firm believer in this. People aren't always out to get you. They may chase you a bit, you run a bit faster to escape, and damn you got a bit better. This is good. Or they may become victorious due to blind ass luck or perhaps raw stupidity; it happens. Or you may be the pursuer, and must over take! Think about your past pursuits in life, did they contain malice? Probably not, most people in my rose colored view of the world have mostly honorable intentions.

I had read a story a long time ago about a student judoka. He was an advanced student and was grappling with a lesser student. He took it easy on him, as people tend to do in combat sports. The sensei became enraged and admonished the advanced student for not properly training. The instructor considered not training at 100% was ineffectual. At all times, the mind and body should be pushing for 100%. But does this mean flip the noob on top of his head and break something? No. Does it mean smash the fuck out of him when on top and rain down some elbows? No.

It means, one's intent is 100%.

Apply your skill for the kill. Yet, protect your training partner from certain death. Control is vital. Yesterday, I taught a jiu jitsu class. I'm the senior ranked individual in a sea of brand new white belts. I have 30 years of experience, they have maybe 30 minutes. It's my class too, I want to train too, therefore my intent is 100%. I gleefully swept the fuck out of everyone I could get my hands onto, I passed their guards freely, I applied submissions at will. It was no big deal. We always left the mat sweaty and smiling(often laughing!). They lost, I won, no big fuckering deal. I trained at 100%, got a TINY, MICROFRACTION better, and they did too. Perhaps not in their own technique, but rather the experience of feeling effective technique. Now, they can mimic me and apply it to others. We are now both better than when we stepped onto the mat two hours earlier. Win for them, win for me.

In my classes, I always explain, roll with a fucking purpose, not to fucking win(I'll say it just like that when there no kids around). This goes for other sports as well(crossfit, archery, synchronized tea bagging to music), there must be a purpose. One cannot win in training. One shall only win in the moments of personal gain; you've bested your former self. So, when a noobie rolls with me, I fucking win, yes I go for the kill, but I lead them through the fight so that they may also learn, enjoy the struggle, have some fun, not get injured, and want to come back for more. If there isn't at least one moment of laughter during my rolls, then something is wrong. As they get better and craftier, I must also step it up a notch. Win for them, win for me.



  1. Well put! I wish more noobs realized that you can't WIN when you're TRAINING-- nor can you LOSE. Everyone wins if you try your hardest... not to submit your opponent/teammate, but to do better than you did the day before, and still stay healthy to train tomorrow.

    So tired of noobs who go balls to the wall to kill me. Instead, go balls to the wall to get better ;)

  2. Yes, I really despise the kill or be killed attitude! I do my best to grind that aspect out of my students.