12 Lessons From Brazilian Jiujitsu For Those Saving the World

8.) Victory is Measured by Inches, Not Miles


In MMA and BJJ, there are plenty of moments that make the highlight reel. For every one moment of excitement, there are ten thousand moments spent honing a single technique down to fine grain detail. Next, there are a thousand more moments actually doing the technique in live situations. Finally, the athlete must find that small window of opportunity, in midst of a hundred other things to worry about, and execute. Oh, and throw in adrenaline and battle stress, enough to falter even tough, seasoned veterans. Success, both in preparation and execution, comes down to inches.

If you do not grab those inches, you attempt to bathe in end glory while paying superficial attention to your journey. The consequences are bad preparation and wasted efforts. In a Jiujitsu match, execute a big movement with poor timing and you might as well verbalize your plan. The higher level the competition, the more important the small details. When black belts go at it, cheering could be heard for small advancements that bear less significance for lower belt competitors. When I say inches can often spell victory of defeat for our sport, it is no metaphor, it is literal.


Tree Hugging:

Victory does not reward the sentimental. It does not matter how good your intentions are if you can’t make magic happen. I am not saying you should not feel or you should never follow your gut. I’m saying if every move you make is an emotional charge, you will inevitably take a bad fall. And your cause goes down with it.

Far too many times, I have seen activists go too far, demand too much, and leave too little for those whom they are not concerned with.  I can’t help but face palm when I hear the same people lamenting about how we humans deserve ‘the coming Armageddon’ because nobody cared for their words.  In reality, these people ran a campaign doomed to fail. They executed wild movements with bad timing and no strategy. The apathetic response is predictable backlash.

Consider the example: in an effort to reduce gang violence, a group may push legislature to ban all civilian firearms in a city. Not only does the proposition fail, the backlash causes law-abiding gun owners across the nation to fear future gun safety legislation. The next time lawmakers comes up with a gun law that makes sense; gun owners that would have been okay with it are now less likely to compromise.

On a brighter side, consider the benefits of how inches can bring victory.  Sometimes, victory for a cause does not require a protracted campaign with countless hours of knocking on doors.  If you position yourself at the right leverage point, mere (figurative) inches could do the trick. Of course, easier said than done. You are going to have to put the work in to find that leverage point.

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