5 Lessons from Jiu Jitsu that Beautifully Map onto Life

You can’t protect everything perfectly all the time – even if you curl up into a tight ball, a skilled opponent will find ways through your defences. Similarly, the things we value in life – our job, self image, health, relationships, so on are vulnerable, especially if we intend to keep moving and exploring.

The possibility of finding yourself in a tricky situation is only scary if you lack belief in your ability to defend and escape. And there is no better way to learn than to be willing to end up in bad positions. And if we are unsuccessful in getting out, there is always another roll, another project, another opportunity. Failure in one instance does not mean failure over all unless we stop turning up and trying.

The more you relax, the more clearly you will be able to spot opportunities in the midst of danger. Being relaxed but fast and attentive is where we are at our most effective.

Perhaps to relax, you have to trust life, as you would trust a training partner. Some people view life like an attacker on the street – cruel and without our best intentions at heart. I can’t say which is the right view but I like viewing life as something largely helpful to us. Like a training partner in Jiu Jitsu, the challenges it throws at us are intended to make us more skilled.

Whether a Jiu Jitsu roll or any other challenge, situations can be viewed in a neutral manner when we recognize that they do not exist only for us. A balance has to be struck between achieving our desires and sharing time, resources and opportunities with others. Me not getting a job is perhaps someone else landing their perfect role. Me unsuccessfully defending a submission is my training partner successfully practicing their technique.

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