Hello brothers and sisters in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community!
Today we’re back with part nine of our series on “Ten Ways Jiu Jitsu Can Help With Stress Relief”. Our topic for today is “Helping Others”, what it means for you and your community. We all appreciate a “good Samaritan”, the Bible story that encourages the act of putting others first. While it sounds like simply a good thing to do, not everyone can relate directly to the positive effects on your own life when you go out of your way for the people around you, especially those close to you who you love and respect. Once you start to make it a habit, it becomes a way of life and very natural for you to open the door for a stranger or give them a gift even in the form of a compliment.
We’ll start by sharing a story about a student who gave back in one of the greatest ways possible through his experience of the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle. Like many of us, he was initially drawn to the Self Defense aspect of Jiu Jitsu, because in all honesty, no one and especially no man, husband or father wants to get beat up by some thug or punk. One of your greatest gifts to your family, friends and loved ones is in fact the role of being a provider, protector or just a strong supportive person that they can lean on in times of need. Needless to say, he started by training Jiu Jitsu at another local academy and loved it! It was a great workout, it was practical, he was learning what seemed to be effective techniques for avoiding strikes, getting someone to the ground in order to control or submit them. Being a smaller man himself, he knew that it would give him an edge against larger, stronger more aggressive opponents.
For those who don’t know, a submission is a choke hold or joint lock that cause your opponent to tap out or give up. This is a focal point of Jiu Jitsu, colloquially referred to as “the gentle art” because it doesn’t necessitate striking your opponent (punching and kicking or elbowing) like other martial arts which are primarily striking based.
Not long after the very beginning of his journey, within a month or two, he was accosted by someone while he was out on a job, who tried to steal his work truck. When he refused to hand over his keys, that was when he felt his gut telling him that the situation was going to get violent, so he braced himself for escalation like his training taught him. As he was attacked, in what seemed to be a blur, his only couple months of training kicked in and before he knew it, the other guy was on the ground and unconscious from the throw that he reactively performed when being tackled. Right then and there he knew, as a white belt with very little training under his belt he had witnessed and experienced the true power of Jiu Jitsu where the smaller man defeated the bigger man with technique and leverage. A real life David and Goliath story, and there are many more out there. As time went by, the Jiu Jitsu school eventually ended up closing, which put his training on hold while at the rank of blue belt. Fast forward a few years, he met us and has been training ever since, now holding the rank of purple belt. How does this relate to giving back or helping others you might wonder? He and his wife have not only adopted two kids but the eldest trains Jiu Jitsu along with his niece and who love it so much, they train together at his house. What an incredible story to not only give someone one of the greatest gifts of having a father but also to give them a means to develop the confidence in their ability to defend themselves and overcome life’s challenges. For obvious reasons I will not disclose his name but I am incredibly grateful to be this man’s sensei and his story along with him as a person are incredibly inspiring and motivate me to do more for others and be a better human being all together..
How does helping others help you? In the book Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, he talks about The Law of Giving, which essentially means that in order to receive more and achieve abundance we MUST GIVE MORE. Speaking from experience I myself can attest to this principle and it is crystal clear that the more we go out of our way for people while looking to provide value in their lives as a, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend or romantic partner, the more we will receive in return. My parents always used to tell us that we never lose by giving and there is undeniable truth to that statement. While we must also take care of ourselves, it is easy to get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget about this simple fact that allows our team (family, work, teammates) to thrive and create cohesion that ultimately benefits us as well as each other. Win win, we like to say! The more people you help, the more people will ultimately help you and the ones who don’t, at least you can sleep at night knowing you did the right thing while they will have to deal with the world of greed and selfishness they’ve created for themselves. Doesn’t sound very appealing does it?
Giving back can also be in the form of teaching which can elevate our understanding immensely. The best part about it is you don’t have to be a “sensei” to do it. Anyone can help a fellow white belt tie their belt, perform a simple technique better, bow properly and so on. One thing we try to communicate to our students is that you don’t need a black belt to be a teacher, you just have to be a good student who genuinely wants to help. You can do this with your kids, family, friends and anyone who is eager to learn and could benefit from your assistance. The truth is, we all need help, whether we know it or not and a helping hand never hurt unless our ego is too big to accept it. There’s a saying that “many hands make a load light”. When you’ve trained Jiu Jitsu for a while, you will start to have a better appreciation for all the people who taught you and helped you along the way, eventually it is only natural to want to help them and it also feels good knowing that you helped someone move one step closer to black belt.
Especially for those of us who have achieved a level of comfort and security in our lives, we understand what it was like trying to make it as a young broke college kid or what not so once we possess the ability, we pay it forward. This will also bring you closer to people who you didn’t realize you had anything in common with and grow your family far and wide. You never know when you’re going to need a favor and it helps to have friends who will back you up because of the times you went above and beyond for them. Most importantly, there’s nothing like receiving the love and appreciation we all deserve for good and kind actions. That is the best part about being a sensei and showing up to an academy full of good people who always try to do the right thing. It is incredibly refreshing and pure knowing that you want the best for each other and the success of one is the success of all. Like the story of The Three Musketeers who famously quoted “All for one and one for all!”.