A blog series analyzing the parallels between Jiu-Jitsu and Mental Health…How to be better everyday
Location: London, UK
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
You don’t have to look very hard to find the “surface level” benefits Jiu-Jitsu can have on your mental health. It can improve your fitness, increase your confidence, help you build a friendship group, test your brain, release endorphins and serotonin, and probably lots of other things that are really hard to spell. But while these are all irrefutable facts, it’s nothing we haven’t heard a million times before about almost every form of exercise.
Beyond the surface, though, lay some intriguing parallels that feel almost as if they were created by design. Jiu-Jitsu and Mental Health are so interchangeable you could be talking about either when saying philosophical phrases, such as It’s a lifelong journey. There’s always someone better. Focus on what you can control. Tapping doesn’t mean giving up. (Don’t worry, I can explain that).
Over the next few weeks, we’ll break some of these subjects down and see if we can’t delve a little deeper into the fascinating similarities between Jiu-Jitsu and mental health.
Part 3: There’s always someone better
You could be meditating in the lotus position for three hours a day or having breakthrough moments without the need for Ayahuasca and a 12-hour purge. Still, you can guarantee there’s always a more conscious being somewhere in the vicinity. It doesn’t matter how dedicated you are; there’s always someone further along in their journey, or at the very least, stronger in certain areas.
Just like in Jiu-Jitsu, consciousness doesn’t discriminate with age. In the same way, a 15-year-old can embarrass you by totally dominating you in every position; anyone of any age, gender, or race can offer you insights, as long you’re willing to hear them.
The problem is, so often, we’re not willing to listen because our ego is too busy bowling around the changing room of our mind with its top off. I truly believe we can learn something from every person we meet, but the moment we judge someone can often become the moment their influence is stifled. It becomes tainted by our own biases and self-deception.
Can a blue belt teach a black belt? What if all they have ever drilled was one technique, and they have become an absolute killer with it. What if it’s not a technique at all. What if our blue belt is a sports psychologist, a nutritionist, or a yoga teacher? Do you still think they have nothing to offer?
Mental Health isn’t a competition. It’s not about knowing every Karl Jung quote or meditating for 280 days in a row. It’s not about being in more pain than anyone else, or being more depressed, or how far you’ve come compared to others. There’s always someone with a bigger and more fantastic story.
You may think that the start you had in life was horrific and that no one can possibly understand the depths of you, but what if you dared to be the first to share? You have your own journey that, believe it or not, has the power to resonate with someone, somewhere. They may not have had the exact same thing happen to them, but we all have the same basic human needs. We need to feel love, significance, growth, and variety. We face the prospect of our own mortality, lose loved ones, worry about money, and fear failure. When you take away the stories we tell ourselves about what has happened to us, we’re left with mostly the same things underneath.
Maybe you live on the flip side of that coin, and you think that the start you had in life was brilliant compared to most people, and that you don’t deserve support because you have no right to complain given all the privileges you received. But privilege doesn’t make your experiences any less valid. How do you measure it? There’s always someone with more; there’s always some with less. Just because you had money doesn’t mean you had physical and emotional safety. Just because you were well protected doesn’t mean you were given the freedom to be yourself. Just because you could be authentic doesn’t mean you felt significant. We are all worthy.
There’s always someone that knows more; there’s always someone better. But, if you can live life with the understanding that you can learn from everyone, you will always be better than you were yesterday.
And isn’t that all you can ask for?