It’s ironic that the more competitive martial arts lead to individuals being more humble than the non-competitive ones. The process of going to class, and losing, paying your dues, being humbled through loss—and the person who beat you, they’ve lost a thousand times. It’s not a big deal to tap. It might be a big deal to you initially that you lost, but to them it’s just part of training. And then as you continue the march of time you realize that winning and losing, whether it’s in competition or in class, just comes with the territory.—Roy Dean
By the time you get to black belt you will have felt failure so regularly that it will almost certainly have smashed your ego. It’s hard to be arrogant when you experience daily just how difficult it is to become skilled in Jiu Jitsu, and how much failure you must experience along the way. That failure, in fact, never ends. Here’s Roy Dean again:
About a third of my techniques fail even now. I go for an armlock, but I don’t always get it. I go for something, they block it. I go for something else, they block that. Sometimes in setting up for an attack they respond and I’m able to capitalize.
Not everyone can handle the suppression of their ego. If you can’t permit yourself to be vulnerable you won’t tend to last long in BJJ. You’ll come in, experience what it’s like to get tapped out, sometimes by someone with less developed physical attributes, and soon have an excuse to not train. But the ones that stick with it, the ones that keep training despite the challenges will often see themselves transformed.
Some of the most humble people I’ve known are some of the most deadly. I know MMA athletes that could destroy 99% of the world’s population in hand-to-hand combat, yet they are incredibly humble, respectful, and genuine. That humility was forged by the daily struggle to become skilled. Some days you win, some days you lose, and that never changes. When you understand, not intellectually, but viscerally, that regardless of how skilled you’ve become there will always be challengers that might get the best of you, it tends to give you a very healthy perspective.
Embrace this path. It will serve you well.