Jew Jitsu is where I’m at right now.
Being is a fight and fighting can be an art, something we can learn from, something that grows the soul.
Everybody is fighting something. I take the fight literally. What is internal I externalize; what is external I internalize. This is what we do as humans. How we do that exercise–how we manage, filter, disguise, expose–becomes who we are away from the mirror.
So fighting requires constant learning, constant training. What better metaphor, then, for life?
Here’s the funny thing: I am not a fighter.
As a kid in karate (Okinawan Seishin-do) from age 11 to 17, every time I sparred, the motivation was to end the battle as soon as possible. More often than not, that meant losing by points. Katas were moments of movement demonstrating balance, focus, rectitude, and respect–qualities no other activity I’d participated in had provided. These were quiet moments of breathing and imagination and visualization that I enjoyed most of all.
As an adult training in tae kwon do for seven years (36-42), I felt the same way, but getting back into shape was the motivation for starting and staying. In the first of those seven years, I watched a krav maga class going on in the next room.
This is when I learned what Kelly McCann means when he says, “Martial arts is something you do WITH someone; combatives is what you do TO someone.”
And the point of krav maga? Not to fight. To end the fight, preferably before it can even begin.
Seven years later I am a krav maga instructor. Last year I began training in Brazilian jiu jitsu and muay Thai.
And I’m not a fighter.
I believe we are all fighting something. Some of us are better equipped than others to fight. I train in order to equip myself, to arm myself with an arsenal of tools, strategies, and will. This is done in prayer. This is done in the academy. This is done in study. This is done in contemplation.
Ultimately, every fight has its core. Martial arts and combatives serve as living metaphors for my fight, how I manage, filter, disguise, or expose. Teaching or learning, that’s all I’m ever trying to do. In my home or in the classroom or in the academy–as a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a friend, a Jew, a teacher, or as martial artist–that’s the essence of Jew Jitsu, life in search of the soul roll.