Last week I looked around the room and I was one of the two most senior students. In the gym hierarchy I’m high up there. I’m so used to being the underdog that it took me by surprise. I didn’t win all the king of the hill contests, so how did I get here. That’s when it struck me that it’s more like Survivor. I’ve survived to get to this level–outlasted all the other white belts I started with, and the blue belts who started before me. Jiu Jitsu is a real life game of Survivor where you have to Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast your opponents.

Art by Jiu Jiu

Art by Jiu Jiu

Jiu Jitsu is not as straightforward as it appears. You learn misdirection, you fake people out, you use their movements against them. You fake to the left to get them to respond, then move to the right. It’s the sneaky stuff.

This is learning the skills to be able to out-Jiu Jitsu your opponents. It’s the part that many focus on because they are outplayed by all their oppenents, but which may not be an accurate picture of your abilities. Everyone else is moving up with you. Tournaments are great for external validation of your “outplay” abilities.

This is what I’ve done–just kept coming to class while the others fell away. I am one of the highest ranked students at my gym literally because the others have quit. Had they lasted I would still be amongst the lower ranked student except with a higher belt. Though on a daily basis this is connected to conditioning and fortitude. Not gassing out, learning to deal with pressure, intensity, hardship, and fears.

Remember that jiu jitsu is a long¬†game, and thank your lucky stars you don’t have to go to tribal counsel.

If we were playing Survivor: BJJ, which aspect would be your strength and which would be your weakness? For me, outlast is my strength, while outwit is my weakness.