#BJJLife (Part 1) - Getting to Know Yourself


Darby: I'm here at the coffee shop with Ruby. She is a student at Team Haanpaa Martial Arts and has been a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast for the last 9 months. We've been wanting to do this blog series for a little while. I just figured now's as good a time as any. She's going to ask me a couple questions about jiu jitsu, self-defense, life, martial arts - pretty much things that I hear every week - and feel like we could benefit from some dialog on. So if you are reading this join the conversation. put your two cents in in the comments. Ruby, It's all up to you.

Ruby: Okay. Some people say that jiu jitsu saved their life. How do you feel about that, and did it save your life?

Darby: That's a good question. “People say jiu jitsu saved their life.” What do we mean here? Are we talking about somewhat existentially or are we talking about in a physical life-saving situation? Like, somebody ... "Jiu jitsu saved my life and now ... I was an alcoholic, drug addict, bum… whatever, and then jiu jitsu saved my life. Now that I have jiu jitsu in my life, I feel productive, positive." Like that?

Ruby: Like that.

Darby: Like that, okay. For me, did jiu jitsu save my life? I'm going to say jiu jitsu changed my life for the better, for sure. However, I don't believe that my life would be lost without it. I know that for some people, that's not the case. Some people, literally without jiu jitsu, they might be dead. You know what I mean? Because it was such a profound positive impact on their lives, they've been forever changed. I can think of a handful of people like that, that fit that description. Really, I think what that comes down to is not necessarily jiu jitsu, the art itself, but what comes with that. The people that come with that, the community that comes with that, the discipline and camaraderie, the lineage; all of it all together can have a profound impact on somebody's life.

For me, maybe I wouldn't say that jiu jitsu saved my life, but if I really think about it, I think the relationships that I've had through jiu jitsu may have saved my life in some ways. My coach, Jeff Curran, he's been a huge impact on my life, a positive mentor, [and] a friend. At a time in my life, when I started training, I was a teenager and we had all sorts of life issues at that point. Without having his influence and his direction in my life and that anchor, I think I probably would have gotten into some crazy stuff, made some crazy bad decisions. I think I made bad enough decisions on my own. I guess, with jiu jitsu, I think without that influence and without that anchor, without having to be disciplined enough to show up and train, without being disciplined to be healthy-physically ... Yeah, I could have been much, much worse off.

Even if it doesn't save me from death in a way, I think jiu jitsu has made my life so much better for those reasons that I just mentioned. I really do love it. I love the art itself, and I love where it came from. I love being a part of the history, and of course making the future of jiu jitsu. Does that answer your question?

Ruby: How do you deal with competitive people who might be closeted competitive people?

Darby: Closeted competitive people?

Ruby: Yeah, so it seems like they're taking their frustrations or life issues out on you and they may not even know it.

Darby: Okay. This might be a competitive person, this might be an overly aggressive person, or somebody that ... So, they don't like losing, is what it comes down to.

Ruby: Yeah.

Darby: Yeah. You're rolling after class and they'll go to whatever lengths necessary to not tap or whatever lengths necessary to make you tap, right? Or maybe take it personally when you tap them or you maintain good position and then they become a different person mid-roll and start going Hulk-smash on you all of a sudden.