A friend and law professional once told me he’s repeatedly observed very smart people throw their critical thinking out the door in martial arts contexts.
Why? There’s probably several reasons including the drama of close physical contact along with threat of joint trauma and loss of consciousness/airway via choke. You then have all sorts of mythology attached to martial arts, belts, and rankings. Mix any or all these things together with a misplaced sense of masculinity, and we’re you have mental climates where common sense and objectivity are uphill battles!
This can make things tough on an instructors and advanced belts as well, as we’re often placed on pedestals we haven’t earned in any deep relational sense yet. Therefore, we aren’t doing ourselves any favors to the degree we by into institutional or hearsay type hype because we’re losing the everyday grounding life freely gives us.
Continuing with ‘grounding’, the reality is there’s just the present. No one is better than anyone else, and yeah I may know more Jiu-Jitsu that you, but who gives as crap? If all is well, we’re bonding in the spirit of sharing and friendship.
Yes, there may or may not be money involved in the above scenario, but at the end of the day it’s just money. Believing some one is taking food off your table by leaving your team or going to another gym is short-sighted, desperate thinking that will eventually come back to bite if repeatedly acted on; not to mention destroying our sense of wellness in the moment!
Why am I mentioning all this? Well, realized talking with a friend last night, that at this point in modern Jiu-Jitsu’s evolution, part of the path to Black Belt is weathering gym drama. That is you likely WILL run into drama, it’s just a matter of degree.
While the preceding drama prophecy may seem fatalistic and negative, keep in mind that enjoyment acts as a suit of armor to drama. To the degree we enjoy ourselves and the health and wellness benefits of Jiu-Jitsu, we’re not going to get caught up in insecure vibes and behavior. We’re way less likely to take things personally, and can therefore see things much more clearly for what they are. So drama or no drama, you’re all good, and/or at least have the perspective of knowing there’s blue sky behind the clouds when you aren’t feeling the warmth. =)
Summary: Enjoy yourself and accept that some gym drama will likely happen during your lifetime on the mat. Widespread Jiu-Jitsu and information flow is still very much a teenager. Maturity and professionalism are processes, and need to be treated as such, so embrace it all with a smile: