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I have competed in martial arts and in BJJ myself; I have medals in my draw and I have come to an understanding of the value of things (in the larger perspective). For me, the real value that comes from martial arts training is not found in a gold-plated medal or trophy – it is to be found in the struggle to improve, in the improved fitness we acquire through consistent training, in coming to an understanding of what it means to respect others who have walked the path before you, in the strong relationships we make with other positive and like-minded people, in learning how to problem-solve, in learning to deal with frustration in a positive way, in learning how to get up and take another step when you really think you cannot, in coming to an understanding the difference between real loyalty and convenient loyalty, in coming to understand the meaning of commitment, in understanding that trust is gained by making small promises and sticking to them, and so forth.
All of those things are the real benefits to be had from martial arts training; and of course, there is the most fundamental and obvious benefit of all; learning how to defend yourself. It’s no good if you have a great Berimbolo Sweep or reverse Omoplata (BJJ guys ‘n gals will know what I am talking about) but you cannot defend against someone throwing an overhand right that will take your head off. And I know quite a few BJJ instructors who do not understand this most basic idea because they are all and totally focussed on the next best way to gain a point in a competition. As the joke goes ‘Get in my Guard! Please … get in my Guard.’ I train in BJJ for life ... it is a metaphor for life ... a way to live ... a way to understand the world and our place in it.