"“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!"" Henry David Thoreau

My growth as a human being has been directly proportional to my progress as a martial artist. My academic and creative pursuits, my relationships, and my relationship to myself, have all grown parallel with my understanding of Jiu Jitsu. This is why I believe that most people can benefit from the sincere study of this art.

Jiu Jitsu is physically and cognitively demanding. Though in its essence Jiu Jitsu is governed by a handful of fundamentals, there are nearly limitless variables in which that simplicity is expressed in training. We must have years of experience to perform this art simply, learning to act in the most optimal way with maximum effectiveness and efficiency. As Aldous Huxley said,

“Nothing is more difficult than to be simple.”

It is this pursuit of simplicity which is the real benefit of Jiu Jitsu.

Our modern lives are cluttered with so many things to attend to, that we rarely engage in a sincere pursuit of understanding in one medium. We are confined to a surface level understanding of most experiences, and as a result, our own depths remain hidden. Jiu Jitsu’s difficulty forces us to attend fully to the task at hand, transcending distractions as we seek an efficient means of solving the problem before us.

This skill of sincerely attending to the present moment is a prerequisite for a human being’s self-actualization, and it’s precisely that which is so rarely pursued in the modern world.

We have jobs, families, responsibilities, and smart phones with incessant notifications constantly vying for our attention. With so many things calling to us, we easily get caught up in multi-tasking: doing many things at once but doing none of them well.

Nothing worthwhile was ever achieved from divided attention.

Jiu Jitsu requires that we be fully-engaged in the present moment, with a complete immersion in the task at hand. This skill of having a singularity of purpose gives us the tools to work optimally toward any aim, on or off the mat. It is the training of these muscles which strengthen our ability to affect change in the world and manifest our will around us.

Jiu Jitsu’s depths reveal our own. The difficulty of understanding that the gentle art presents evokes a sincerity of practice which forces us to be as steward of our potential. It is through this complexity that we can come to live with simplicity. It takes years to discover the simplicity of Jiu Jitsu, and as beginning students, this attempt can seem daunting. But we must remember that simplicity lies on a continuum, and our task is to move closer toward it each day, removing the superfluous from our lives as we seek our highest selves.

Jiu Jitsu has taught me that mastery is to be found in simplicity. Having gone further down this road than any other, but recognizing that all roads are one, I now seek to live with that simplicity in the world. We do it on the mats first. Then we live that way in the world.

Nothing is more difficult than to be simple. And that’s why there is no more worthwhile pursuit.

Want to read more about Jiu Jitsu? Check out Chris’s new book, On Jiu Jitsu. Want to try Jiu Jitsu for yourself in the Florence/Burlington, NJ area? Sign up for our Introductory Special now!