Jiu-Jitsu Letter

You Don't Have to Take It All

You don’t have to fully like or agree with the message (or messenger) to accept the parts that work for you.

I see it all the time when someone would have a lot to offer, but if some little part of him or her is disagreeable, all of it is discarded.

One of Bruce Lee’s most famous quotes is, “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

Mike Rowe was on the Patrick Bet-David podcast, and he talked a bit about Ayn Rand. His life was greatly influenced by reading Atlas Shrugged, yet thought some of what she wrote was crazy. But that bit of crazy doesn’t mean all of her other ideas should be rejected. I’ve very rarely heard a follower of Rand’s philosophy say anything critical of her, just as I’ve rarely heard of a hater say anything positive. Rand is one of those figures that seem to provoke “all or nothing” thinking.

Although I strongly discourage it, I was reading r/bjj1 one day and someone wrote about John Danaher’s mispronunciation of the word “proprioception” in one of his instructional videos, and that it turned him off completely from learning from Danaher. It’s a ridiculous way of thinking. Danaher’s perhaps the greatest mind in modern jiu-jitsu, and to disregard what he has to say because of that is just absurd. 2

The Gracies, especially Rorion in the past, get criticized quite a bit, and the critics believe they should be discredited. As Richard Bresler said, “No matter what you think about Rorion Gracie, the one thing you have to recognize and appreciate is that we in America are doing Jiu-Jitsu today because of Rorion Gracie. You can love him or hate him, but you have to thank him. Without him, without what he did, none of this would be here.”

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with someone years ago, whose child trained Tae Kwon Do. With a straight face, she said that ever since Royce Gracie lost to Matt Hughes at UFC 60, jiu-jitsu was deemed no longer effective and that’s why she enrolled him in TKD.

In jiu-jitsu, there are techniques that don’t work for you. You have instructors who mess up sometimes. You have schools that aren’t perfect. But you don’t just give up on the entire art.

  1. Just don’t do it. 95% of it is a waste of time or worse. It’s a lot of garbage to sort through to get to the useful 5%. ↩︎

  2. He pronounced it “priorperception” over and over, which admittedly is funny, but I can get past that because his jiu-jitsu knowledge is way up there. ↩︎

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