Embrace Your BJJ Sisyphus

Embrace Your BJJ Sisyphus

Wherever you find yourself on the road to black belt right now, there is one thing we can all agree on.  It's a long, long, upward battle.  As time goes on and you begin to progress through the color belts, it becomes almost painfully clear that the grind towards the end goal of the black belt is only getting harder and forcing you to dig deeper.

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was condemned because he had allegedly angered the gods to endlessly push a boulder up a mountain.  At the top of the mountain, when he had finally completed the incredible grind to push the boulder to the top, it would simply roll back down to the bottom.  The metaphor of Sisyphus has been used by existential philosophers to describe the futile struggle of human life to find purpose and meaning, only to find that the search never ends.

Jocko Willink, author, former Navy Seal officer and BJJ black belt, instead finds positive meaning in the story of Sisyphus and his labors.  For Jocko, life is the endless grind up the mountain, working towards our goals and getting after it.  For him, we should not look at this condition as something to despair, but instead should embrace it.  He even says if he would get to the top and the boulder would rest, he would push it down himself and start over.

Over time, as our BJJ skills become more and more refined, the parallels between our own quest for that next BJJ belt and the story of Sisyphus become clear.  Each belt is seemingly another journey up the mountain.  As excited and eager to complete that task and reach that goal as we are, the moment of rest is fleeting as the very next day, we are still the same person and the rock is now at the bottom of the next mountain.  This is true for all of the color belts and if you ask any black belts you know, they will most likely say the same.  It's not the end that we should embrace.  It's the push.

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