It is time to start your Jiu-Jitsu journey

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by James Eke

We humans are an interesting bunch. We will sit for hours watching other people have amazing adventures and wonderful lives but when it comes to seeing this same magic happen in our own lives we will come up with every excuse in the book to just sit back and coast.

“I’m too tired.”

“I’m too old.”

“I’m too broke.”

“I’m too out of shape.”

Yet if we examine our lives we will usually see that while we say we are broke we actually have money for everything else from beer to coffee to vacations and so on, but when it comes to making our lives into the dream we would love to see we are habitually negligent in our actions. We squander our money on things we don’t need. We waste away our time doing things that give us nothing. We say we want something but do things that take us the exact opposite direction.

You know why we look at people who do incredible things with their lives and go, “Wow!” — it is because we have become so numb to the possibility of creating an amazing life for ourself that anyone who has done so seem like they are somehow on the next level.

I’ll tell you a secret. If you want a life that is incredible, the kind of life that is an inspiration to others, then get off your backside and do something. Not tomorrow. Not in a month. Today!

What I love about Jiu-Jitsu is the power it has to create change in the lives of people. You might be a tiny girl, a middle aged man, a housewife, a student — it doesn’t matter — Jiu-Jitsu will make you into a warrior. I’ve seen it first hand and not just once but over and over again.

Jiu-Jitsu empowers us in a way that few things in life can. It doesn’t depend on power or strength or cardio. It teaches you to use what you have in this moment. It shows you that there is a way out of every situation that you get yourself into. It gives you the tools to make you able to build an impenetrable shield around you that nobody can enter into to harm you. It gives you confidence. It gives you a sense of peace. It gives you more than you would ever expect.

There is only one thing that Jiu-Jitsu asks of you. It asks you to come play. It doesn’t matter if you just lost your job or are cringing when you think of how old you are now. It doesn’t care if you think you need to lose weight or have a hard time keeping the weight on.

While I’ve been involved with the martial arts for over three decades it wasn’t until I started training in Jiu-Jitsu in my forties that I truly understood what a martial art can really do for someone. I think it was the act of putting on the white belt again but this time as a mature man that made the difference. It probably didn’t hurt that I was blessed to be taught Jiu-Jitsu by true legends of the art through the Jean Jacques Machado Academy and the Inosanto Academy in Los Angeles. When you have the likes of Professor Jean Jacques Machado and Professor Jay Zeballos showing you The Way you can’t really go wrong. Over the years I have had the great fortune to train with others who have blown my mind like Professor Boaz Brizman and Professor Gary Padilla. What they all share is one similar thing — that Jiu-Jitsu has transformed their lives into something that you have to experience to understand.

Jiu-Jitsu will change your life if you let it. It is a long path — you will be forced to look at yourself, your life, your baggage and make some decisions that other people who don’t train would never even consider. You will change as a person in ways that you will only understand when you look back on the years that have passed since you first started training and see how far you have come. You will become someone who is different from everyone else around you and you will know it right down to the marrow in your bones and you’ll carry that with you through life, like the most amazing custom-made jacket which makes you into some kind of superhero.

You will find, as I have found, that Jiu-Jitsu people — true Jiu-Jitsu people — are different. You will find yourself in a family — a band of brothers and sisters — people who you have gone to war with, sweat with, hurt with, laughed with and maybe even shed a few tears with. The reason is that Jiu-Jitsu will never lie to you. Jiu-Jitsu is honest, powerful, life-changing.

So what do you have to do?

Find yourself a good school with good teachers.

Understand that Jiu-Jitsu is not about earning medals and trophies.

Understand that Jiu-Jitsu is not about beating people down.

Understand that Jiu-Jitsu is about building people up from the ground floor. It is about maturity and honesty and helping and community and hard-work.

You’ll know when you have found the right place because it will feel like coming home.

You will know when you are with the right people because they will be your family and when they are not around you will feel the hole in your life without them.

You will know that Jiu-Jitsu is right for you because you will crave the mats, the Gi, your beat up belt.

Jiu-Jitsu will give you everything that you could want in your life.

Doesn’t that sound like something you need?

We only have one lifetime. Don’t squander yours. Make it incredible. Build a family. Do great things. Make something out of your life.

Jiu-Jitsu will get you there. Trust it.

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