Training Jiu Jitsu Again

. . . after a six month layoff.

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My friend Oleh and our new training hall.



Except for Oleh and another guy, both of whom usually out-muscle me, all the students are new. I taught a class today and then took on all comers. Some tried three or four times. The outcome was always the same: Them exhausted and submitted. Me asking “who’s next?.”

So I’m enjoying the aura while I can. The new students don’t understand how it’s possible. No matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, they can’t prevail. I get this aura around me — a reality distortion field.

It reminds me a little bit of being an officer — working to develop that aura of invincibility.

At the risk of sounding immodest, I’ll tell you that anyone who’s trained jiu jitsu knows how easily a blue belt can submit a white belt. I’m not a great athlete, but I’m a good blue-belt-level grappler.

See the Pleasures of Drowing for the best description of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from the new-student perspective I’ve ever read.

BJJ and other grappling arts [are] unique in two ways: BJJ can be safely practiced under conditions of 100 percent resistance and, therefore, any doubts or illusions about its effectiveness can be removed. . . . It is a remarkable property of grappling that the distance between theory and reality can be fully bridged.

I can now attest that the experience of grappling with an expert is akin to falling into deep water without knowing how to swim. You will make a furious effort to stay afloat—and you will fail. Once you learn how to swim, however, it becomes difficult to see what the problem is.

Sadly, I have to train all the students to kick my ass . . . and I will . . . and they will.

But that’s a good thing. It keeps me humble, for one. For another, good competition makes everyone better — just like in the free market.