Saturday, August 20, 2016

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Harm Avoiders or Harm Seekers?

When in doubt - work on defence. The paradox though, is this: to learn to avoid harm, we usually need to expose ourselves to a little taste of it.

In nature there is a phenomenon called Hormesis, which is a process by which organisms get stronger through harm. We can easily relate to this when we think of exercise. Exposure to exercise actually harms us - muscle fibres suffer micro-tears, lactic acid builds up, we deprive ourselves of oxygen, etc - but it is our response to these ‘small harms’ that ultimately leaves us stronger for the experience.

When we are vaccinated, we get a small dose of the bad thing - respond - and are immune to the really bad thing.

Of course, the same goes for other things in our lives - but I’ll leave that for another time/forum.

In BJJ, we expose ourselves to small harms just by turning up to class. Our response to these harms though, makes us stronger in the long run. If we are always dominating on the mat, it does us some good to expose ourselves a little more - by working out of difficult positions, etc and that way triggering our defence-response.

The payoff is this; the better we are at defence, the more aggressive we can ultimately afford to be - as the downside of a slip-up is less painful. Kind of like having a safety net under the trapeze - that allows us to try even more outlandish tricks.

- JBW

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