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One Lion At A Time
Paul Moran is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, influential podcaster, and cancer survivor. He began jiu jitsu in the mid-2000's and began his Open Mat Radio podcast not long after. In 2012, Paul was diagnosed with rectal cancer and has spent the last 6 years battling a variety of cancers and facing countless chemotherapy and radiation sessions, along with surgeries. Over the years, his story has inspired many in the jiu jitsu community, among them Bernardo Faria who became friends with Paul after visiting Sergio Penha's academy in Las Vegas in 2011.
In the interview below, Bernardo Faria catches up with his old friend and discusses the nature of happiness and how Paul, who faces almost daily challenges related to his illness can be so happy. Check out the interview below.
For Paul, the lessons of two great teachers help guide his outlook on life. On one hand, there is the influence of Buddhism, namely from Vietnamese Zen guide Thich Nhat Hanh. Through the practice of gratitude and meditation, Paul is able to maintain a healthy perspective on his life, filled with both joy and pain and how making a choice to be grateful, keeps him happy and moving forward. Sergio Penha, Coral Belt and arguably one of the most influential BJJ figures in history offers the counterpoint to Thich Nhat Hanh for Paul.
Paul recalls a story that Penha had shared with him regarding his early training days. As a young practitioner, he faced nearly endless beatings by the bigger, better and stronger athletes in his school, but over time, he would soon become the best in their academy. Each day he would be challenged by a line of fellow students and he described the process of stacking the bodies of the lions who were waiting to attack him. He would dispatch them and move on to the next challenger, but he made it clear that while he was training, he would only focus on "one lion at a time." This mindset has helped Paul focus on the challenges directly in front of him instead of dwelling on things that were past or future, thereby keeping his mind and focus in the moment where it could do the most good.
Paul Moran is not able to train as much as he would like, but his influence on the mats is felt around the world. His story is one of perseverance and overcoming challenges. His story should teach us that not only are our most important challenges NOT on the mats, but that through jiu jitsu and mindfulness we can face "one lion at a time" and be victorious in life.
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