This is inspired by one of the conversations I had with a Gracie Barra purple belt. I hope this story also touches you and set your soul on fire as it did mine.
Let’s sit back for a minute and ponder out a few things that define our lives. This article can be or not be about BJJ, but I guess it deserves a few minutes of reading.
Imagine putting on a suit of armor, and sheathing in that old-fashioned cutlass and setting out to face a dragon. Now, this dragon is no ordinary dragon. It has been sitting around in your lot. He has kept you hostage. For most of your life, it has been guarding your lawn and keeping you from taking on that awesome life of adventure. But today, you have decided to slay it. Let’s call this dragon “the unwanted life.”
Throughout history, a handful of men and women have been successful in slaying their own dragons. These are individuals who got out of their beds and said that they wanted more out of life! To strive for something more than what their status quo provided them. These are but men who did put on their suit of armor to face their own dragons. The dragons vary in shape and form; from debilitating illnesses, social class, financial ability, physical handicap, mental handicap, etc. However, these slayers battled long and hard to free themselves from these limitations. And thus, the honor of becoming dragon slayers.
We all have facets of our lives that stunt our growth. These can be anything from a job that we find unfulfilling to our physical health that we take for granted.
In one of my conversations with a Gracie Barra purple belt, he told me that doing Jiu-Jitsu is slaying his dragon. His dragons were huge. It was obesity from eating just anything. It was drug abuse that held him captive for years. It was his lack of discipline at work that kept him constantly in between jobs and not able to keep one for more than a month! He exhibited low self-respect by clinging to people who never cared for him.
“Doing drugs, and being a part of California’s gangs was my life. We were stealing, extorting, and doing things that made people respect us. But not realizing that it wasn’t respect. Just fear. You get what I am saying?”
“I woke up one day realizing I don’t want this no more. And then, I saw an ad on the web about change. About self-respect. About values. It hit me! Right in the middle, that I can be better than what I thought I was.
I enrolled in BJJ in 2008. Not with Gracie Barra yet. And I loved it. It was hard at first. I had habits that were hard to break. Drugs were still part of my system for months. But the will to slay that huge dragon has to be strong. I had to kill it! I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own. So I asked for help. I read articles on addiction. And I knew that I could be better soon!” he explains.
He mentions that he is a thousand times better than what he was before. He got a regular blue-collar job that pays for his BJJ and keeps him off the streets.
“And it was then, when I was at my breaking point, that I was able to overcome those dragons. Call me dragon slayer!” he adds.
To everyone: how big are your dragons?