Rocha Jiu Jitsu Student: James R

I was first drawn to Jiu-Jitsu when I tried a class and was shown beyond any possible doubt that technique, intelligence and strategy really are superior to size and strength in a fight. Many martial arts make that claim, but in Jiu-Jitsu you are confronted with that truth in an undeniable way; when your training partner makes you submit, there are no rationalizations or excuses. You have to acknowledge that you were overwhelmed, and then you try again. It was that quality of objectivity that continued to deepen my fascination with Jiu-Jitsu. I began to realize that I was like a stranger in my own body, not understanding its capacities or its limitations. Furthermore, I learned that my lack of awareness of myself as an animal body had been a constant source of anxiety. Becoming familiar with the experience of physical struggle, defeat and victory, has given me a sense of calm and perspective that balances my emotions and extends into my creative and intellectual pursuits.

The longer I do Jiu-Jitsu, the more impressed I become with the people who are attracted to the art. I think the only way to do something as hard as Jiu-Jitsu for years on end is to appreciate the beauty in it, and I think anyone who sees beauty in something as hard as Jiu-Jitsu is a healthy person to associate with.

At our school we are surrounded by these positive, encouraging, compassionate people. Everyone who trains with us is there with the pure motive to continually improve himself or herself. This doesn’t mean that anyone is there to “beat” anyone else. On the contrary, we all understand that raising the level of our teammates will inevitably raise our own level as well. Many of my teammates and instructors are among the first people I would go to for help in a time of need. And of course, our head instructor is at the core of everything that makes our school great. Eduardo works harder and takes his responsibilities more seriously than anyone I know. He constantly elevates the standard that we all strive toward.

In the years ahead, my main ambition is to improve as a teacher, increasing my ability to communicate the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu to our students and to encourage them in their pursuits. I hope to see our Jiu-Jitsu family continue to deepen and grow.