Jiu-Jitsu v.s. the World: (Part 3) Resilience

Josh Larson   May 17, 2016   Comments Off on Jiu-Jitsu v.s. the World: (Part 3) Resilience

In Parts 1 & 2 we covered being uncomfortable and the science & control that leads to submission.


(courtesy www.graciebarra.com)

How do you deal with anxiety? Jiu-Jitsu allows a method to understanding your anxiety, overcoming discomfort, and building resiliency. Nothing hurts more than getting caught in a choke or arm bar, but we know that this discomfort serves multiple purposes.  First, it teaches us that there are techniques that we must become better at, and more importantly, it teaches us that even though we may fall into bad situations (life, not just jiu-jitsu), there are always possibilities that lead to us recovering our base!

Life deals many daily battles to us. Whether that’s driving into work and catching nothing but red lights, or having to overcome the loss of a family member or friend, we will always experience anxiousness and stress.  How do you overcome these terrible situations? How has your mind been developed to recognize, interpret, and understand what happened and what needs to happen next? Jiu-Jitsu offers this type of mental pathway to conquering anxiety and discomfort. We find comfort in bad positions, because we understand the possibilities or outcomes.

This is how we also lead others (family, friends, troops, etc.). When we have developed the ability to recognize, interpret, and understand what is causing our anxiety, we are better prepared to deal with it within an organization. You see, an organization is just like a single person. There is a mental mindset, that just like a human, can be shaped, molded, and sharpened to overcome anxiety and even perform  better in uncomfortable situations.


(courtesy http://soldiers.dodlive.mil/)

The Army calls this resilience.  I call this “mind training”. To me, there are two ways to build resilience or “mind train”, both of which lead to a stronger mental will: 1) Positively overcoming tough situations through random instances of the event (the death of a loved one) and 2) Positively over coming tough situations through the purposeful experience of planned uncomfortable events.  Now, we cannot easily train number 1), but we can always train number 2)!  And guess what? By training number 2), we prepare our mind to be more capable to deal with the random events.

My way of personal “mind training” is Jiu-Jitsu. To train an organization, we must place them in situations that build the same type of unit perseverance that we get from individual “mind training”. The best way to accomplish this for a unit is realistic, hard, tough, and continuous training.

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Just minutes before an eight-hour firefight, U.S. Army Spc. Nathan Allen (right), an infantry team leader from Atlantic, Iowa, and U.S. Army Pvt. Cody M. Meidinger (left), a squad automatic weapon machine gunner from Emporia, Kan., both assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, scan the horizon from their fighting position on a remote hilltop in the Shal Valley in eastern Afghanistan's Nuristan Province, Nov. 7. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

(Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, courtesy http://www.clarksvilleonline.com)

I bet you’ve heard that before. I also will bet that you’ve seen units that don’t do this. By making training tough, hard, and realistic, we are giving Soldiers what they want. I’ve never heard a Soldier say “that training was too hard, and I never want to train again”. They normally will say “that training was hard as shit and it was awesome because we all did it together”.  We can all recall similar situations where we did something extremely hard, thought we were going to fail, but succeeded and left with a new sense of pride, esprit de corps, and confidence.

Life is not easy. So why try to live as if it were? The harder we push ourselves in “mind training”, the better off we will be both individually, as leaders, and as a team.

Josh Larson

Josh is an Active Duty Army Officer, Brazilian Jiujitsu practitioner, combatives aficionado, and avid fisherman.