A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that if they were to find themselves in a dangerous situation where they were being assaulted by another human being that they would be able to cycle through a number of options and find a way out of it because they’re smart, savvy people. This however is rarely going to be the actual case when you find yourself face-to-face with somebody trying to do harm to you because the shock of being hit, the shock of being grabbed, and the shock of having to deal with another human being at close range is really extremely unsettling.
Even for a lot of people that train in the martial arts already they often will remark that once they go up to the tournament level and have to deal with another person who’s giving it their all that many people just find themselves falling apart in that situation or are incapable of thinking of the techniques that they had learned, that they had trained in.
This is why when people show up to SBG Texas I try to always include aliveness in every drill that we do because without aliveness people simply cannot cycle to the techniques that they know. Knowledge is not sufficient in and of itself. A person has to gain timing. A person has to have gained calm in the middle of a storm. So, without aliveness in training all the knowledge that you possess in your head often comes to nothing.
What’s really cool about overcoming the shock of danger is that you can achieve that without putting yourself in any real danger. Part of that is because your body is rather stupid it takes contact of almost any variety as being the real thing so if it feels a certain amount of pressure, if it feels a certain amount of pain it’s going to start to believe that those things are real because as an organism your body is hell-bent on surviving and living as long as it can on this planet. So, with that in mind we can actually get you to a point where your brain learns to calm down through the repetition of an activity and that repetition can lead us to places where our mind stays very calm and very focused even as pressure starts to increase.
One of the most amazing things about Jiu Jitsu is that it always expands into people’s lives beyond the mat and the more you draw emphasis to that while you’re training at a sufficient training center the better your odds are of being able to capitalize on those types of benefits. What’s really cool about our gym here in new Braunfels is that we don’t just teach you how to be calm while meditating in a quiet room. We encourage students to learn the basics of meditation and more advanced forms of meditation and for them to be able to apply that ability to be calm in situations where someone is trying to choke you, someone is trying to stay on top of you, and do harm to you. The combination of those two things is really an amazing experience because to be calm in a quiet room is one thing but to be calm in a dangerous situation and to be able to carry your mind in that state across an entire spectrum of experiences is really something that you’re not going to get anywhere else.
When I think about what I do at SBG Texas what I’m doing really is training people how to use their mind and how to access their calm which I believe is the greatest weapon that human beings have.
What’s perhaps even cooler than giving that tool to adults is giving that tool to children. The idea that a child could have the knowledge and the ability to act in this way going forward from ages like four or five but they’re already starting to practice a skill that will allow them to stay calm in intense situations for the rest of their life; well I can’t hardly I can hardly think of a greater gift to give to my children or to give to other people’s children.