Breaking the curse

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In a world the place dying is the hunter, my pal, there isn’t any time for regrets or doubts. There’s solely time for selections. 

– Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan

I consider this, that fairy tales are true…

I am attending to the top of this weblog. I by no means meant for it to be about me, or perhaps I did, I do not know. On the finish of the day, all of us expertise the world – and jiu-jitsu –  by means of the filter of our personal being.

It has been my hope that perhaps someone can relate to a number of the issues I’ve talked about. Jiu-jitsu is a means to hook up with different individuals, and speaking about jiu-jitsu is one other strategy to join, and disagreeing with individuals is yet one more method to join. Identical to kissing is a approach to join and preventing is a strategy to join, and perhaps preventing is an much more intimate means of connecting than kissing, if you consider it. Not that I’ve something however a really obscure recollection of what kissing is like, however I hear it is enjoyable, though not as enjoyable as jiu-jitsu. So should you agree, or when you disagree, ultimately, we’re connecting, and on this loopy remoted world, I feel that is an excellent factor.

However I’ve one final thing to say earlier than I’m going.

I began coaching jiu-jitsu virtually 9 years in the past. At the moment my life was in turmoil. My well being had come crashing down, and I left every thing in California, my condominium, my automotive, what handed as my life, and got here slinking again to Ohio with my tail between my legs.

I had been recognized with continual Lyme and some different tick borne illnesses. Through the time I used to be sick, anyone cloned my ATM and cleaned out my account. The cash went in every day withdrawals of 600 euro, i.e. about 1000 USD, in Vegas. It was all the cash I received from the sale of my home in Rome, and I by no means obtained it again.

Received bugs? Welcome to Lyme Illness

It took me a very long time to heal. Years, the truth is, and I nonetheless do not feel the identical as earlier than.

Jiu-jitsu has been an enormous a part of my therapeutic journey. It is customary to name jiu-jitsu a “journey,” and we name therapeutic by the identical identify, together with different names, like course of, for one. But when the phrase “journey” has a type of sedate, well-planned ring to it, and course of simply feels like a lab experiment, I feel journey, and even expedition, expresses it higher. At the least for me.

As a result of with a journey, you just about know the place you are going and once you’re coming again. With an journey, it is no matter. And that is just about the way it’s been – in my well being, my life, and my jiu-jitsu.

And I get that that is the place you and I differ. I go searching me and I see individuals who have gone from white to black in the identical academy, with the identical teacher, individuals who have been married to the identical individual for many years, who’ve had the identical job for eons, individuals to whom bizarre and loopy shit does not occur.

And I feel, Why them? Why not me? What have I carried out, or not achieved, to have such a loopy journey?

I am positive a number of the stuff that has occurred to me in my life is my fault, or no less than, underneath my management to some extent. However a number of it has simply been batshit out of the blue if you did not even know there have been any bats.

I imply, the factor with Lyme Illness, I used to be dwelling in California. Who will get Lyme in California? However my physician stated she thinks you will get it younger and it might lie dormant, and I do keep in mind getting bullseye rashes once I was 11, however no one knew they have been bullseye rashes. They have been simply these large contaminated issues. Mother and father on the time stated, “Wow, that is bizarre, have some extra flat ginger ale and go play within the woods.” As a result of we spent a variety of time within the woods and our mother and father used to repeatedly examine our heads for ticks and burn them off with a spent match. That was simply regular.

And the factor with the ATM, as soon as once more, it was a fluke. Granted, it did not assist that I used to be a technophobe, however you already know, if it hadn’t occurred proper once I acquired sick, issues would have been totally different. I noticed later the way it occurred. It was at JFK airport on the best way again from Italy. I went to make use of the ATM and there was a man standing there, and I requested him if he was in line, and he stated No, go forward. And now I do know that it was him, however it does not do me any good to know that now.

And different issues too, I imply, they weren’t actually my fault. I met this man who I actually thought was the love of my life, and he thought so too, and three weeks after we met he texted me that he needed to spend the remainder of his life with me, and I texted again that we might begin with every week’s trip in the summertime, and he did not textual content me again and I assumed he was mad, however truly he was lifeless. I nonetheless do not actually know why. His kinfolk advised me it was a coronary heart assault, however I nonetheless do not actually know, and I did not go to the funeral, as a result of truthfully, we hadn’t recognized one another that lengthy, and what is the level of going to the funeral of the love of your life? I imply who does that sort of shit occur to? Me.

However anyway this is not a poor me publish. If it sounds prefer it, I apologize, as a result of that is not what I am making an attempt to say.

What I am making an attempt to say is:  Life is epic.

Life is a fairy story, or truly a zillion fairy tales all jumbled up, it is a spider’s net of intertwined fairy tales, and your process, your mission, whether or not or not you determine to simply accept it, is to determine which fairy story you occur to be in and get to the comfortable ending, and make it snappy.

As a result of one factor I discovered final weekend at Grasp Worlds is that point issues. You’ll be able to’t go round appearing like you will have on a regular basis on the planet since you do not. This woman I ended up beating, principally by smooshing her, which I am not notably pleased with however welcome to the Thunderdome, I used to be in a Brabo place, and simply eager about whether or not I needed to complete with the hand or the foot, when the buzzer sounded. And the truth that I gained by factors did not take away the sting of not having gotten to the submission, a reality which her little remarks about how “You actually needed to submit me however you could not” did not alleviate. And I do not know why ladies have such a tough time with the idea of sportsmanship however evidently they do.

However again to life, when you understand that it’s a fairy story, that you’re the hero, that each one the crap that’s being thrown at you is simply dragons to kill, and curses to interrupt, and evil to defeat, and good-looking princes wandering round all willy-nilly on the lookout for YOU and solely you (for some unknown purpose), then it will get simpler. As a result of all the things is simpler when you understand what you are coping with.

Dragons to kill and whatnot

On the similar time, the buzzer will sound, for you and for me and for everyone. Ask not for whom the buzzer sounds. It sounds for thee.

Anyway, competing in Grasp Worlds was not one thing I needed to do, identical to, if I had lived within the time when dragons roamed the earth, killing dragons would have been fairly low on my listing. And there are a number of causes for that. To start with, it is actually exhausting. It’s a must to depart your consolation zone. You possibly can’t kill a dragon in your ivory tower, and I am very keen on my ivory tower.

I’ve had individuals ask me what the ivory tower is a reference to, and that is a good query. The ivory tower is the tower the princess lives in. It is the tower the place life cannot get at her, in good or in dangerous. She is protected from evil but in addition protected from any good-looking princes which will occur to be wandering round. She is protected from life.

Protected within the ivory tower

However you are not alleged to be protected from life. That is the purpose. Life begins the place your ivory tower ends. However, life might be fairly uncomfortable. Love could be fairly uncomfortable. Jiu-jitsu may be fairly uncomfortable. And so you must make this acutely aware determination to be uncomfortable, to return down out of your ivory tower and to return off your excessive horse, and that’s very exhausting.

Shortly earlier than Grasp Worlds I had an epiphany, which was:

I haven’t got to do that.

No one had a gun to my head. I noticed that competing within the Worlds was only a waste, of time, of cash, and of power. Amongst different issues, I used to be alone in my division, and I did not know if anyone would even present up for absolutely the. Additionally I hate Vegas.

So I emailed Robson, and I informed him that, until he had any very robust objection, I had determined to withdraw from Worlds.  I did this understanding that Robson has quite a bit on his plate proper now and that, basically, he is not a Do that Do this sort of teacher. He’ll inform you, as soon as, quietly, what he thinks, a few specific place or no matter, however he is not going to yell and he is not going to nag. And I feel that that is among the issues that I actually treasure probably the most about Robson. He lets me make my very own errors. He lets me do it my method.

We’re all right here for a special cause. I wish to win as a lot as the subsequent man, however I do not need to win by being a puppet on a string. I do not need to win as a result of my coach is best than your coach. I need to win as a result of I figured it out myself. I need to win as a result of I willed it.

And I figured that Robson wouldn’t have robust emotions both approach, particularly at this level in his life, and I used to be type of proper and sort of mistaken as a result of he ultimately emailed me again and stated, within the gentlest approach attainable: Go and have enjoyable.

In actuality, by the point I obtained the e-mail again from Robson, I had already determined I used to be going to undergo with it, not as a result of I needed to, however as a result of I did not need to. 

If that is sensible.

Quick ahead to the day I flew to Vegas. I ended within the airport chapel as I all the time do, and I prayed. I did not pray to win the battle, or something like that. I did not pray for something particularly. However I used to be feeling so awful, so down, so hopeless, as a result of it hasn’t been a simple yr, even in comparison with the final years which weren’t straightforward both. And I simply sort of closed my eyes and tried to open my coronary heart.

Often once I pray, I get a solution, and this time was no totally different. The reply I obtained was: It isn’t about profitable. It is about studying to fly. That is what I gave you wings for.

After that, I felt immensely higher. All of the individuals who actually meant properly, who have been telling me I used to be going to kill it, who have been telling me I needed to win, they have been making an attempt to assist however they weren’t serving to. And I say this with love and with immense gratitude, as a result of they actually needed to assist.

However they do not know, no one is aware of what the final ten years have been like. Up till then, I had all the time been a profitable individual. If I needed one thing, I discovered a solution to get it. However ever since my well being crashed, my expertise of life has been totally different. I needed to study loss, and failure. I discovered about victimhood. I discovered about weak spot. I discovered, in a really acutely aware means, about worry, and melancholy, and despair. At a time in my life once I thought I had nothing anyone might probably envy, I discovered concerning the damaging energy of envy and jealousy and gossip and hate. I needed to study to be ugly. I discovered to be middle-aged. I began out life because the ugly duckling and I turned a swan, simply because the fairy story promised. However the fairy story by no means stated I must return to being an unsightly duckling once more. I did not know the way to cope with that and it harm.

It nonetheless hurts. However what I discovered is that no one stated it would not harm. No one stated ache is an effective purpose to give up. No one stated failure is an effective purpose to give up.

However it began to look that the whole lot I needed can be completely out of my attain. Bruno Bastos stated, earlier than final yr’s No Gi Worlds, Do not get used to dropping. And he was proper, in a method, however in one other approach, I’ve spent the final ten years getting used to dropping. I needed to.

A part of that has to do with my life and a part of it has to do with jiu-jitsu. However the unlucky factor, for me, was that each one this dropping, on and off the mat, had seeped into my soul, and I ended considering of profitable as an choice. I felt like I used to be beneath some type of curse and I did not know the right way to carry it.

However, since life is epic, it so occurred that there was an enormous photo voltaic eclipse the Monday earlier than the Worlds, and I made a decision to lease Ladyhawke, which is my favourite eclipse-centric film. And, spoiler alert, there was a curse, and the curse might or might not have been damaged on the eclipse, I am not telling, however anyway, as I sat within the airport chapel, it got here to me: The curse is lifted.

And it was.

Ladyhawke eclipse scene

I did not win the Worlds. I acquired silver. In a film, or a fairy story, I might have gained double gold. I might have discovered to fly.

However in my fairy story, I did not study to fly. In my fairy story, like Ladyhawke within the film, I lastly shook the jesses off my ft and I left them there, on the mat, in Vegas. In my fairy story, which is identical as my life which is identical as my jiu-jitsu, I turned lastly free.

Take this job and shove it: Ladyhawke is freed from the curse

In my fairy story, the curse was damaged. What’s extra, I broke it. I broke it with my will and with my religion.

The facility of religion

I went to Vegas to say the treasure that had been stolen and to raise the curse. Instead of my checking account, Vegas gave me a gold for displaying up and a silver. Instead of the curse, Vegas gave me mat burn.

It is not sufficient. I did not get my life again, or my well being again, or my face again. I did not study to fly.

However, I’ve on a regular basis on the planet to study to fly, now that the curse is lifted. Or at the least, till the buzzer sounds.

Subsequent up on the to-do listing

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