Does the practise of BJJ slow time down?

Time, the current thinking goes, although it can be objectively measured, just might be a construction of the mind/brain.

As most of us get older (trust me on this you younger readers) time seems to pass more quickly than it did in those endless summers of youth. As it turns out, there is a reason (as there always is) behind this strange perception of ours (strange because time usually passes at the rate of 1 second per second); and the fundamental reason is as follows:

When we are young, we are learning and absorbing new information from the world at a rapid rate. When we are young we are encoding new experiences all throughout our waking day; and the when we are busy doing that, time seems to pass more slowly (when we look back on it).

An easy way to think of it would be to imagine making a movie of something; the more footage you get, the more detail you capture, the longer the movie would be. If you only captured bits and pieces, the movie would necessarily, be shorter. And so it is, apparently, with learning. When we capture a larger quantity of information, particularly if it is detailed, then our perception is that it takes more time to experience it. This, to me at least, is an interesting phenomenon. 

The more new memories we build in a given time-period, the longer that time-period seems to have been, when we look back upon it. So naturally, when we are young and encoding new experiences all throughout our day, then time seems to pass more slowly. As many of us age, and we find ourselves stuck in our ways, our thinking, our routines, then time seems to pass more quickly as we are not taking up new experiences and learning at the same rate we did when we were in our youth.

In short, when we learn new things and have novel experiences, time seems to pass more slowly.

I propose that the practise of BJJ provides us with a wealth of opportunity for new learning (new learning of complex skills under physical pressure/stress and so it represents a somewhat special kind of learning).

Apart from the physical benefits that BJJ practise offers, I instinctively feel that it allows us to participate in life in a more childlike way. This of course, represents a kind of antithesis to age-ing. 

I love it when time passes slowly - it gives me a sense that I am getting more out of life. Extracting the maximum value from life is a habit I have long-since acquired and would readily wish upon others.

  • JBW


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