While talking, the question was posed, would you trade everything the martial arts has afforded you for a million dollars? Well, lets raise it, is there a dollar amount, one in which you would trade it all for? I don’t mean just techniques, belts, and medals. I’m referring to the memories, the countless injuries, and stories behind them. The friendships you’ve cultivated, the frustrated moments, the failures, and thrilling successes. Would you trade the man or woman you are today for whoever you may have been back then. Without the martial arts, who exactly would you have become? What exactly has it all meant to your very being?
I’m 32, and have been doing the martial arts for the past two years, I would not have been a failure as a man without it. I wasn’t headed down the wrong path or anything remotely close to that, but I was inactive. I did nothing that benefited me physically, I was close to 200 pounds (I’m 5’4″), loved playing video games, and ate a lot of junk food. I constantly had back problems, wasn’t very social, so I spent a lot of time at home and on my ass.
Since then I’ve gotten down to just under 170, crave the challenge of training, and haven’t felt this fit since leaving basic training in 1999! I have few back problems now, and I feel more confident, than I could ever remember. I trust my gut more so now, and use my instincts more.
One of the most important things that martial arts has given me, is a new definition of failure. For so long, I believed it was losing. Not attaining a goal, when and how you wanted. So by that definition, I’ve failed plenty in the world of Jiu-Jitsu. It’s an incredibly humbling sport that forces you to change our definition of failure. You start to look for the failures, because they grant you opportunities to improve.
The most valuable things the martial arts have given me, have been the priceless memories, and deep friendships. I don’t have very many actual friends, many acquaintances. People I share laughs with, but not people I have serious bonds with. As much as Jiu-Jitsu is an individual sport, in that you can’t blame anyone else when you lose. You can’t tag another teammate in when you get tired, or when you see something you aren’t used to. The team you train with becomes extended family.
I love the life I have now, in large part to the martial arts, and there’s no way I would trade these memories and experiences for anything!