Message to the Martial Arts Student: “You Are Not a Consumer”

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Last night I reminded the class that we are practicing Japanese Karate. It’s not American-style Wal-Mart karate in a box. It’s not there to be “consumed”, and you are not a consumer.  

Moreover, we have a relationship. My job is to show up and give you my very, very best. Sometimes it takes a lot, and sometimes it’s oppressive, and sometimes it’s really amazing. 

TM-MC_MG_5772 copyYour job is to do the same damn thing. If you’re not making one or two percent progress every time on the mat, you’re disappointing your teacher. You’re pecking away at the relationship.

The expectation is that you don’t consume this relationship, but that you’re constantly giving to it in the appropriate way: mastering and integrating these concepts, these movements, these ideas. 

Since we’re not practicing Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, our conversation about Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t have the same frame. But suffice it to say that this is our version of it. The expectations are the same: there are roles to inhabit, places to stand in, relationships to take care of. 

What we’re doing is part of a continuum of effective learning and teaching. It’s the transmission of physical, mental knowledge which requires complete engagement and participation from both parties. 

When you’re on the mat, recognize that you’re a part of it, so participate properly and act accordingly. In that way, we get a chance to co-create something fulfilling, dynamic, meaningful together. 

For more about our larger project of cooperative Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts training, visit the Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Brooklyn BJJ) website here.

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