|Banish the doubts|
Last weekend I drove to North Carolina to attend a Robson Moura seminar.
As I watched the road flash by, the trees and the mountains, the golden dome in Charleston, the fading autumn colors, the overambitious trucks trying to pass uphill, the cops hiding in the shrubbery, as I stopped for gas and cider and mysterious Southern pork products, stumbling out of the car bent over like an old woman, driving through the rising sun and the setting sun, getting stuck in rush hour traffic in Raleigh and driving through pitch black on the final stretch to Greenville and pushing, pushing, pushing to arrive at last in time to watch the rank review, it was as if I were reliving all the ups and downs of my purple belt journey.
It was long – longer than I had expected – and exhausting, and just when I thought I was getting close, I hit a snag. Just like purple belt. And I thought about giving up, but when I imagined what it would feel like to quit, it felt awful. It felt empty. And emptiness is worse than discomfort. So I kept going.
|Friday evening traffic outside Raleigh|
|If you want to get to know someone, go on a road trip together.|
|2011: My first Robson Moura seminar|
And you never stop learning a language, just like you never stop learning jiu-jitsu.
|Do you speak jitsu?|
|Are you my jiu-jitsu mother?|
Saulo Ribeiro called me “Ronin.” Which was nice.
|When the student is ready the teacher will come|
|He moves better than Jesus|
But while Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fishes to feed the thousands, Robson has turned four limbs and one neck into thousands of submissions – sometimes, all at once. More often than not, his subs are what I call “BOGO” (buy one get one) because the shoulder lock is also a wrist lock and an armbar and a choke and a toehold. On the rare occasions that an armbar is just an armbar, I admit to feeling – just a little – cheated.
He’s the master of transformation. But rather than changing himself to work within the existing framework of reality, Robson Moura has perfected the art of transforming reality. And besides his jiu-jitsu itself, which you could absolutely just copy and paste and not go wrong, I wanted to learn that art – the art of creating your own reality.
In the same way, reason and logic will not make you believe in yourself, when you’re standing there with your DIY jiu-jitsu and a body that has seen better days, looking at Robson Moura and a million people who are younger and faster and more athletic and more graceful and more technical than you could ever be even in your dreams (and yes I do dream about jiu-jitsu and Robson still beats me every time).
|It’s not about winning – it’s about learning to fly.|
Trust your wings
And when he changed the game, he changed the world. He created his world in his own image. And so can I. So can you.
And transform yourself. Don’t change – transform. With the difference being that change means becoming other than you are. Transforming means becoming even more who you are.
As iron becomes steel, as Pinocchio became a real boy, as the ugly duckling becomes a swan, jiu-jitsu gives us the opportunity to become bigger and better versions of who we are.
But you have to stay on your toes. As my teacher Ricardo Pires said, “You can’t just take a nap.” You have to be ready for the opportunity, the open door, the brass ring.
But to do that, you have to believe that the opportunity will come for you, too.
The opportunities, the strokes of luck, the happy endings, those aren’t just for other people – they are for you. There is a rainbow with your name on it, with your own personal pot of gold just waiting for you to jump on it.
|Believe in your happy ending|
Take the leap of faith.
|Believe in yourself|