I often find myself pondering what I call the great pillars of jiu-jitsu. These are the character traits that should be cultivated through training to become a better person off the mats. These include:
This post will only deal with the first of those pillars: Humility. Specifically, I’d like to address the concept of humility in victory.
We are taught that jiu-jitsu is a great engine of humility and I believe it to be true: Everyone must tap thousands of times, put their egos aside and realize for a moment that they are not the rough and tumble bad-ass that they thought they were. Often enough, this lesson is drilled into us through training with partners both above and below what we deem our skill level. As a blue belt, I consistently tap to friends that are still wearing a white strap around their waist, reinforcing the concepts that A. a belt is not the thing to be striving for and B. that humility comes in defeat.
But what about humility in victory? When I sit back and watch an incredible display of jiu-jitsu between two competitors and the winner celebrates by jumping into his coach’s arms, ripping off his gi top, screaming wildly and running around the mat like a mad man, I don’t see this great pillar of jiu-jitsu. I see pride.
Don’t get me wrong, I think you should celebrate a tight match and win by submission. However, doing so like a 9 year old child is a sign of immaturity and weakness. When did we decide that this kind of behavior is acceptable?
Instead, we should have enough self control to keep our emotions in line; the person across from you could have just as easily had his/her hand raised in the end. Realize that they have worked as hard as you have and they are being humble in defeat by congratulating you, not protesting the decision or storming off the mat as your arm is raised. The least we could do as competitors is congratulate our opponent on a tough match without resorting to school boy posturing.
One other note: If you win by an advantage point, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO CELEBRATE. Lay your head down in shame; jiu jitsu is about control and submission…. An advantage point shows that you ALMOST had control and you DIDN’T have the submission. Get over yourself.
Even if you won by submission, there’s no place for that kind of pride on the mats. Our art is about respect, honor and discipline. Acting like a jackass accomplishes none of this.
So, I think we should learn to be humble, even in victory. No one wants to be the recipient of bullshit shenanigans.