The Oatmeal put out a witty introspective comic on The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. For the author (Matthew Inman), running is a way to find “silence” (aka inner peace) when the flaws of character and circumstance collude to make life outside of running a shameful mess.
My journey through jiu jitsu is a contradictory mess as well. Sure, I’ve heard myself say many times that I do jiu jitsu to stay healthy or for an ego-check or to take a break from work. But the reality is probably something much less concrete. I think it helps me find that same kind of silence amid the sporadic oscillations of daily living: the noise.
The noise is made of my brain’s frequent Facebook-style notifications of my flaws, doubts, regrets, my at-times dysfunctional relationship with food, girls, work, parents, and friends.
The noise is also fear (both rational and not): fear of loss, fear of death, fear of isolation. It’s all part of being a human being, alive, and without a clue about what it all means. I find solace from that noise in jiu jitsu.
Of course, I don’t usually think of it in those grandiose metaphysical terms. Actually, I usually don’t think at all. Just take it one step at a time.