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BJJ as a spiritual pursuit


I think there are countless paths to spirituality—meditation, surfing, running, climbing, music, sailing, archery, calligraphy, chess, martial arts, motorcycle maintenance, whatever. The vehicle is just the husk. It is a structure, a form, a channel to be penetrated with an understanding of its relativity. In my opinion, what matters isn’t so much what art you pursue but how honestly, creatively and relentlessly you explore it.—Josh Waitzkin

There is perhaps no word as amorphous as spirituality. What does it mean? Ask a Christian, a Hindu, a Humanist, a Stoic, a Mystic, or a Materialist and you’ll get as many answers.

I don’t claim to have a definitive definition, but what Waitzkin is suggesting is that spirituality is the personally transformative byproduct of engaging on a very deep level. Spiritual isn’t something we are, it’s something we become as a result of pursuits that are so deep that they lead us to a fuller existence. Jiu Jitsu, of course, being one such vehicle.

I tend to agree with him. Seeking excellence as a lifestyle, regardless of the pursuit, creates the best opportunities for finding purpose, understanding, wisdom, and happiness. For me, those are the essential components of what one might call spirituality.

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