Two Wolves

I find BJJ to be lacking in deeper philosophy that you will find in other martial arts.  Many refer to BJJ as a sport rather than an art.

Here is one of my favorite stories.

There is a story of a Native American grandfather talking to his grandson. He explained that we all have two wolves within us.  One of the wolves is selfish, controlling, greedy, impatient, restless, cruel, unfocused, undisciplined, and only thinks about immediate gratification.  The other is kind, unselfish, compassionate, calm, understanding, patient, focused, confident, disciplined, and thinks long term.

The grandson asks, “Which one wins?”

The grandfather asks, “Whichever one you feed.”

You may ask, “What does this have to do with Jiu-Jitsu?”

One really important part of your development in jiu-jitsu is how you deal with being tapped.  A bad wolf reaction is to want to get revenge.  Or to avoid rolling with that person.  Or to rationalize what happened, “I had an off day,” or “I was injured,” or “I was not feeling great.”

The good wolf reaction is to figure out what you did wrong.  You may know what you should have done to prevent or escape the submission.  Or you may not know what to do.  Either way, you should spend some time repping and drilling techniques that will prevent or defend the submission that you got caught in.

And the proper response (good wolf) when you get tapped: “Good job,” and or “Thank you.”

The key to success in any art form and in life is persistence through failure.  Every person that has achieved greatness in any endeavor has failed thousands of times.  Are you a person who takes responsibility for your actions, doesn’t blame others, make excuses or quit when things get difficult?  Do you see failure as an important component of success?  Or are you a person who only focuses on winning and not learning and only looks for immediate gratification.

Your response to failure in Jiu-Jitsu, which will happen hundreds to thousands of times, is the repetition of a mental and emotional habit.  It shapes your character.  It makes you who you are.


One Response to “Two Wolves”

  1. kalman says:

    Great post Ryan!

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