“Are You Okay?”: The Deconstruction of Ego Through Simulated Murder

Jiu jitsu is simulated battle, and when a man taps he admits defeat in that battle. Luckily, it IS simulated, so tapping is not followed by murder. Much like in chess, a checkmate is not followed by the pillaging of the king’s castle and the slaughter of its citizenry.

are-you-okay-cat

Tapping is the catalyst for a brief personal psychotherapy session. The therapy couch is the mat, and your therapist is the man leaning over you with a concerned look on his face, saying: “Are you okay?”

The reddit post entitled “Your pokerface when someone destroys you with a submission and asks if you are OK” describes precisely the response most of us give: “Yes.” But this is only a veil over a complex inner struggle between expectation and reality: the shattering of delusions. This is precisely the struggle from which you grow as a martial artist and as a human being.

im-okay

EDIT: Based on some comments, I have to clarify a point. The “painful” part of tapping should NEVER be about physical pain. You should tap early and tap often. The “pain” should be of the same kind when a friend beats you in a friendly game of chess.

Tapping is the process of prodding your sleeping ego with a stick. And there is always some ego, no matter who you are or where you are on the journey through martial arts. I don’t believe that training can ever truly involve “no ego”, no more than a bullrider can ever achieve a state of “no bull”. The goal is to control ego and to channel it into productive positive growth. This is something I talked to Ryan Hall about in a recent interview.

On a more practical level, here is how I grow from every time I tap. Whether I’m going at 100% intensity or 20% intensity, the questions I ask are:

  1. What exactly were the detailed chain of events that led to this tap?
  2. Next time, how can I prevent each of the steps along that chain?
  3. Next time, how can I escape the bad position at each of the steps along that chain?

As far as I’m aware, jiu jitsu is the easiest and safest way of going through this humbling process of “self-deconstruction”. Enlightenment through suffering, as the Buddhists like to say.

dean-lister-rodolfo-viera

Shortlink:

Metamoris 4 Predictions: Galvao, Lister, and Keenan Win by Submission

Metamoris 4 is going down on Saturday, August 9. Check out the countdown videos here. And check out the Around the Mat show previewing Metamoris: The card is: Chael Sonnen vs. Andre Galvao Josh Barnett vs. Dean Lister Saulo Ribeiro vs. Robert … Continue reading

First Brown Belt Tournament: Grapplers Quest U.S. Nationals

I competed at Grapplers Quest US Nationals yesterday. This was my first tournament as a brown belt. The brackets were small (2 or 4 people) but I did 4 divisions and ended up with 3 golds and 1 silver. I … Continue reading

Brown Belt Promotion

Yesterday, I was promoted to brown belt in BJJ. I’d like to thank Phil Migliarese, Ricardo Migliarese, and all my training partners and friends at Balance and everywhere else in the jiu jitsu world. In some ways it’s just a … Continue reading

Don’t Be a Spaz: Relax and Move Smoothly to Develop Precision

A “spaz” is someone whose movement is explosive but lacks precision. For the visually-inclined, here’s a Venn diagram: Being a spaz is something we forgive beginners too easily, as if it’s the awkward teenage phase everyone has to go through, … Continue reading

My Experience at the Hellfish International No-Gi Championship

Last weekend, I competed at the second installment of the famed international Hellfish tournament hosted by the equally famed Tim Carpenter. Check out his jiu jitsu school and blog. The tournament was awesome. My experience competing was sweet and yet … Continue reading

Metamoris 3 Preview (Video) with Podcast Supergroup: Aesopian, Open Mat Radio, Verbal Tap, Take It Uneasy

In 1966, Eric Clapton put together the supergroup Cream that gave the world Crossroads, White Room, Sunshine of Your Love, etc. In the same way, five decades later, Raf Esparza brought together Verbal Tap, Aesopian, Open Mat Radio, and Take It … Continue reading