Years before I ever started training martial arts, I had two kanji tattooed on my back, as a sort of mission statement for myself. Together, the words represented what I wanted to develop: “Peaceful Strength”.
At the time I got the tattoos, I was neither peaceful nor strong, and I didn’t really have any idea how I was going to make that wish come true. Martial arts was a dream that I didn’t think would ever be my reality, because for the first thirty-five years of my life, I didn’t even have the guts to walk through the door.
When I finally found my way to the dojo and took that first step, it began the process of leading me to where I wanted to be. Karate started me down the right road, but it wasn’t until I began Jiu-Jitsu that I realized I was actually fulfilling my mission statement.
I think everything about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helps to cultivate peaceful strength, physically and mentally. It teaches you how to stay relaxed amidst chaos, and when you face painful challenges and endure, it gives you a calm confidence. BJJ helps you learn to control your physical reactions to emotional triggers, helping you to keep a clear head when you’re suffering, and increasing your tolerance for discomfort. If it isn’t peaceful strength that enables me to not freak out or get submitted when someone who outweighs me by sixty pounds is laying on top of me trying to choke me, then I don’t know what is.
Outsiders sometimes see my bruises and injuries, and they don’t understand why I train BJJ, what makes it worth all of the hard work and pain. Well, besides the fact that rolling around on the ground with sweaty people who are trying to submit you before you submit them is unbelievably fun, Jiu-Jitsu helps me to be the version of myself that I aspired to be when I got those tattoos so many years ago. Although I’ve come a long, long way from where I was back then, I’m still not quite as peaceful and strong as I would like to be, but I don’t doubt that the path I’m on will continue to lead me there.
“In these very tough positions, you’re in a little piece of hell and through this daily suffering you learn to survive in these situations. You have to find comfort in the uncomfortable situations.” -Rickson Gracie