We’ve heard it one hundred times. Ego is the enemy, be humble, be present, be open etc etc. However we still find ourselves being offended, reinforcing poor decisions because we don’t want to say ‘I’m wrong’, not working on our blind spots and not getting advice where we need it, and also just going with something with no evidence that it actually works, but it’s how we’ve always done it.

Tonight I had a rude awakening in ego. There is nothing more humbling and damming to the ego when beginning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Especially when you go up against someone who you think is not at your level (to be clear, I am a very very low level, but my ego crept in), and then 1 minute and 40 seconds into a round you tap out as your arm is twisted into a position that our creator never intended.

There are no shortcuts. There is a maximum speed, and it’s based on a cruising speed that you hold for a long time, consistency. There is only ‘the way’. There is no nepotism, no politics, no hidden agendas. There is only you, your opponent, and the mat.

When someone is trying to make you unconscious or break a bone there is nowhere else where your mind can be other than in the present. There is no faking your ability, talking your out of something or favors to enhance your positions.

You have to progress slowly and surely based on getting the basics rights. Principles, techniques, posture, base. Then working hard on what you did wrong so that you can try hang out another 10 seconds in the next round before tapping out.

There are so many parallels between BJJ and life, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface. Patience, humility, leverage, energy, flow.

The only thing you can bring the mat is your raw ability, and to be choked out, armbar-ed, and wrist locked by people half your size, and also, like tonight, people who you thought you were better than, is humbling in the deepest sense.

Here’s to real progress, authentic, consistent, real, raw and true.

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