I woke up the day of the 2012 No Gi Pan Ams a quivering mess in dire need of some barbaric warrior mantra. There I was in bed searching for ‘kill mode’ buzz words to summon and activate my inner savage. After 2 hours of rehearsed warriorisms, I realized, “This is not me”. “Me” is whimsical, playful, quirky, sneaky, free-flowing on the mats. I furthered this image of myself with what my A game was like in the comforts of AllianceNYC, my own school, with my students and training partners. No inhibitions, no reservations, no care, no scare, no psychological resistances, just straight PLAY – or playing viscious depending on the line up of hungry competition purplebelts, hardened brownbelts, and the ever so elusive blackbelts.
That’s when it hit me. “Whelp, being that I have absolutely NO other choice but to get in there(No Gi Pan Ams), if I could just open up my game, zone out, and PLAY without a care like I do in the school, then I can do some nice damage.”
“I’m gonna show my team MY expression of Jiu Jitsu. I’m just gonna go in there and SHOW THE ART.”
Seconds later, those last 3 words resonated profoundly; they melted into the fibers of my being. It empowered me psycho-physically. “That’s it! I’m gonna go in there and just SHOW THE ART! Show my teachers, teammates and students some sick technique. Watch my flow.”
From that point on, I was liberated and released from the pressures, stresses, and repercussions of losing. I also didn’t have to dismember any unsavory opponents in my mind just to rile me up. No insatiable blood thirst. No unnecessary cannibalism:). I’m not a killer. I’m just a lanky technician with a mission to showcase skillful movements.
I knew that by just “showing the art”, winning could be a highly probable byproduct. I was no longer results orientated; I was performance orientated.
It was on!
That year I took double gold in my weight and absolute.
I was prepared to win, the same way I was prepared to lose. It is impossible to win every single match, every single tournament; too many variables. I have accepted this long ago. The only fun in competing for me these days, is in pulling off that sweet de la riva sweep that I drilled feverishly, or that sick leg drag escape, etc. It’s ALL about the TECHNIQUE. It’s ALL about the ART.
Some of my favorite players may not have the best win to loss ratio, or may never have won a Worlds, but they are damn fun to watch, are inspirational, and fully showcase their expression of BJJ.
Showing the art is about being devoid of the internal and external interferences such as results and expectations etc. and about just letting go, like we do in the school.