During the advanced class last night, Tumbleweed said that when he rolls it’s like a “choose your adventure” book, except he’s not the one making the choices, his partner is, because what he does depends on what they do. I believe that’s essentially the core of Jiu-Jitsu, at least the way I see it as a smaller person, because it’s rare that I can force my will on anyone. I’m not saying that Mike and I never have plans, or things we’re trying to work on, but in BJJ you have to be able to improvise, adapt, and overcome when those plans don’t work out, so Tumbleweed might start a roll thinking “I’m going to triangle Gina today”, but if I escape (like I did last night!), then he immediately goes onto another option.
One of the main differences between Mike and I is that no matter what I choose to do, he always figures out a way for our rolls to end with me tapping. However, I do feel a sense of pride when he tells me of the different adventures that he wanted to take me on, but I refused to go (which has been happening more often lately!). The problem is that he has options for every move I make, he knows counters to counters, and he’s always thinking a step ahead of me, but I still hope that one day I might be able to checkmate him in this game of human chess, and although he makes that shit look easy, I know it’s not!
I believe the idea of working with whatever your partner gives you instead of trying to force them into submission is what “the gentle art” is supposed to be all about, but it’s difficult, because when you’re pushed, the natural human reaction is to push back, not to yield. Professor Greg calls the concept being “intelligently lazy”, Jigora Kano said “maximum efficiency with minimum effort”, and Bruce Lee said to “be like water”, but I think it all basically means the same thing. You can use up all your energy trying to control the whole adventure, or you can take someone else’s energy and use it against them, and although that means you can’t always predict how the story will end, isn’t it more fun that way?
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked,
while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” -Bruce Lee