One of the (unconscious) attractions to jiu-jitsu is that it offers anyone the opportunity to experience flow. I say it is ‘unconscious’ for two reasons. Firstly I don’t think people intentionally go to jiu-jitsu to find flow. Most people go to jiu-jitsu to learn a martial skill, as a vehicle to help them get in shape, an opportunity to breakout from the mundane of life, to be personally challenged, and because it looks like a load of fun (which it is). In the process of doing all of this they accidentally (but not always) stumble upon the flow experience.
I get asked all the time what do I think about X martial arts instructor, X style or method of martial arts. With the advent of social media, I made a decision that I would never comment by ‘name’ on other people’s work in the martial arts industry. The truth is, not only have I had my fair share of people taking a short video clip that may surface of my work totally out of context, but I am well aware of the martial trolls out there that just like to be assholes. I don’t want to be one of those guys. Notwithstanding, there are so many keyboard warriors these days, some of which are proclaimed experts in the field of martial arts themselves who love to trash talk other people’s work on social media — yet never produce anything of value themselves. At the very least, if you going to call out someone by ‘name’ and attempt to discredit what they are teaching, you should offer a visual counter method of what you believe would work.
In 2012 I embarked on a formal educational journey (i.e., my PhD), which I now realise was in fact a culmination of years of informal study. You see, as far back as a decade ago, I began to realise that my personal performance in the ‘fight game’ was largely predicated on what was happening on the inside. Said another way, if I stepped onto the mat filled with self-doubt, anxiety, and self defeating thoughts, it would invariably impact my game. While my research as an academic has been specifically focused on the inner game of leadership, with a specific attention to mindfulness in action — my realisation has been, that these tools expand to all areas of one’s life.
I am a career martial artist. I am not just a hobbyist. Maybe because of this, because I have lived, slept and dreamed martial arts since I was 6-years old — my reflections on it, may be very different to most. Martial arts not only has been my preoccupation, the center of my life, but equally supported my family through making a living off something I love. I owe martial arts so much. I am not sure, had I not been so keen on martial arts, and finding a way to make it my bread and butter, how my life would have turned out for me (not so good I am certain). While I have a great education behind me now, and I have expanded my ‘expertise’ beyond the world of martial arts, for a very long time, martial arts is all I had. And I am very grateful for it.
There’s a saying, that there are many routes to the top of the mountain, but once you are at the top the view is the same for everyone. There is for sure many routes. The view being the same, is a discussion for another article. What I am always surprised by however, is how many people in the modern martial arts world think that their route is the justified and only one. Here I am speaking mainly about the motivation for someone to participate in a modern martial arts experience.