Article Jay originally posted in 2010:
Jeff Suskin, a fellow Amal Easton Black Belt and good friend, wrote an article that I found truly inspiring. Check it out (-Jay):
“Renzo Gracie is famous for having said “everyone is fighting something” It could be our past, it could be something that is happening today, and often times it is with ourselves.
My dad always told me that his life was filled with tragedies and disasters…none of which actually happened! Our mind loves getting the best of us. It’s kind of like Tiger Wood’s caddy and best friend going to the media and tearing him apart. Some best friend! I was always told a good friend bails you out of jail, but a great friend is sitting next to you in the cell saying, That was awesome. You would think your own brain would see it as in its best interest to help a brother out, but alas the mischievous ego is always ever present waiting for its chance to salt even the tiniest of wounds.
We all have ego. Ricardo Liborio says “you have to be the black belt and the ego has to be the blue belt you have to be controlling it….I’m selling evolution you grow or you die”
I think making sure we push our limits is the key to quieting the impish voice that exists in all of our heads. Ricardo Liborio also says “I believe in hard training, in the recipe. You have to respect your limits but understand you’re an athlete and push on them. You WILL get your ass kicked. You WILL get tired, but eventually you’ll be kicking ass!”
My ego runs rampant when I don’t push myself training, when I don’t suffer, when I seem to win all the time. It fuels my ego. It gives more power to that little voice, to the conversation that you have in your head when no one else is around. It’s the suffering that humbles us. Its our defeats that fuel our growth as martial artists and human beings.
I watch how I train, my jiu-jitsu improves when I take my licks from the other students. I actually feel more worthy when I suffer through the training. It is safe and I trust everyone I train with consider my safety, but please dont mistake that for them taking it easy on me. I drove 45 minutes today to have Prof Easton brutalize me!
But the ego has its place. That’s why the ego is a blue belt. It makes me move on the mat, it makes me train harder, it makes me want to learn, it makes me want to grow and do better. It makes me take an honest look at myself as a person and consider how I can positively evolve. It just has to be controlled.
for my part, I have been attending Dan St Johns wrestling class on Friday evenings in Denver (which you all should consider joining). I am so out of my league when I train with him at takedowns. I feel worse than the whitest white belt and I even heard people commenting after about how much of a beating I was taking. But I know its only a matter of time before I will be scoring takedowns and I feel amazing that I am not ignoring the weakest part of my grappling.
I urge you all to know your limits but to really push out at them. To make yourselves a bit more uncomfortable with your training. To go train with the guy or gal who has your number, take your licks but come back with your tail wagging every day. You WILL be kicking ass sooner than you think but its going to take a bit of suffering to get there. Just have a good attitude about it. It’s hard to be frustrated if you have a smile on your face, right?”