The other day I wrote a post on “What Makes Jiu Jitsu Fun For You?” laying out my top personal reason for continuing to train. As I was writing it, I had a realization and line of thought that didn’t really jibe with that post, but is something I wanted to pursue separately–there’s more to why I train than just the fun. Don’t get me wrong–it’s mostly about the fun. But there are other reasons as well. And one of the biggest is the concept of “Perfect Jiu Jitsu.”
I’m not sure if there’s an “according-to-Hoyle” idea of perfect jiu jitsu, but I have one that I’m able to wrap my tiny little brain around, and it’s pretty freaking awesome.
Perfect jiu jitsu is, while playing in the rules of jiu jitsu, the ability to convince your opponent they have no hope of survival. Perfect jiu jitsu achieves this by doing nothing other than accepting the choices the opponent makes and responding only in ways to which the opponent does not resist.
So, obviously, no striking or biting or anything like that. But…wherever they want to place their hands, you allow it. Conversely, you allow them to object (by resistance) to ANY hand placement you choose. Same goes for feet, head, legs, etc. They are allowed to do whatever they want. You don’t do anything they don’t allow. And you still get them to tap. Oh, and the person you just defeated can effortlessly beat everyone in the world except for you.
Now, that’s PERFECT JIU JITSU. I know it isn’t possible. It’s just an aspirational goal–people may aspire to achieve, but no one will actually get there.
There are people who dedicate their lives to achieving perfect jiu jitsu. They are aware they’ll never get there either, but it’s a concept that is so powerful and alluring, that they feel it’s worth a lifetime of work to reach for.
I’m not one of those people.
So, if it’s not something that’s achievable by anyone, and I’m not even one of the people who’s willing to dedicate myself to achieving it, why am I even bothering to write this post? How does the existence of the idea of perfect jiu jitsu even motivate me?
Because I see the beauty of the idea of perfect jiu jitsu. I’m aware of how effective jiu jitsu is when done poorly, by someone without special talent, who trains a few times a week, holds down a regular job, takes their kids to activities, eats an imperfect diet, and has a million other things going on.
That may sound like a pretty accurate description of me, but I’m not talking about me. The guy I just described will utterly destroy me at jiu jitsu. That’s how magic it is. If they guy I just described can beat me so easily, what must close-to-perfect jiu jitsu look and feel like.
I can’t fathom what that may be, but I want to be a part of the movement towards it.
And the reason I really wrote this post is that:
The concept of practicing something that can be abstracted into an idea that is beautiful and yet unattainable scales both horizontally and vertically, and it’s the stuff that a meaningful life is made of.