Courage vs. Pride
By: Andrew Prata
What is courage? Courage is not the absence of fear but rather accepting our fear and doing what needs to regardless of how scary or uncomfortable it makes us. Hiding your fear does not make one courageous, makes you fake. Fear is part of the game. Keeps you sharp. Keeps you focused. Keeps you awake. Forces you to grow. That is the key. Growth. True courage enables us to grow as individuals.
Someone’s first step on the mats requires a high level of courage. Thus, those first steps promote a kind of “invisible growth” only seen by those who have experienced this “fear of the mats” and who stepped on the mats regardless of how out of place they felt (especially when you wear a gi for the first time).
Whatever the motivation that brought the jits new comer to the matted area, drive and habit will be the forces, which keep that person coming back for more. That “pulling” feeling the mats have rather than a “pushed” feeling we have when going to work or school is truly a unique experience. This invisible force pulling us towards the struggle, the uncomfortable, the exhaustion and this results in happiness, can only start with the courage to step into the unknown.
Exposure to who we truly are, I believe, is the root cause of the fear when stepping onto the mats for the first time. Bullies who are accustomed to being the hammer are now the nail. Submitted by someone half his or her size, half his or her strength, etc. This is the first moment we (everyone on the mat) see who you are. So many reactions to this event are possible. It is not about beating up the bully or teaching someone a lesson. It is about change and change for the better. Level up your character in this game called life. That is the objective. When a bully feels what it is like to be helpless, vulnerable, weak…..all the things bullies pray on and abuse of in others, a change occurs within that bully. Small or big change is not the point. The point is that this change would not have happened any other way. Jiu-Jitu has a way of humbling us, bully or not.
All you need to do is show up, continue to show up, just never give up.
We have all heard that saying not to allow fear to hold you back. BJJ forces you to face your fears. It exposes to everyone who you really are.
Who you are as a person will come out on the mats during the rounds / rolls. All of the “bad habits” we have learned throughout our lives will also seek through the mats and observed by everyone. Giving up, anger from being “tapped out”, among so many others things and emotions that will go through your very soul each time you step on the mats. That is why most people will not continue. They are exposed and are unable to deal with the reality that technique, knowledge and wisdom are keys to success.
We gravitate towards being comfortable. We are used to living within our egos. The courage to get submitted by a training partner half your size and still show up the next day, the day after that, and so on is true courage.
Coach Andrew Prata BJJ purple belt.
Team Gracie Barra