Through Jiu-jitsu, I have come to understand that I am ultimately no different from anyone else. No better and no worse. Discrepancies in size, strength and skill level, and the dualistic concepts like winning and losing feed the illusion of separation. Some people will always eclipse you in ability, and you will most certainly surpass others. But beneath the shell of the physical, the interconnected spirit is pervasive, and it is on this plane where we are all similar. Jiu-Jitsu and the other more physically intensive martial arts can help us understand this because they harshly expose the limitations, and ultimately, the mortality of the physical body.
On the mat, we have all faced our own weaknesses and been surprised by our strengths. The human being goes through a gamut of physical abilities from the cradle to the grave. The journey of a martial artist parallels this. Like an infant, the beginning student is helpless and with very little awareness. En route to adulthood, the child’s body grows and he develops his consciousness and strength. Similarly, through experience and training, the fledgling martial artist gains skills and ability. Finally, in old age, both undergo an inevitable decline of capacity and form.