Thoughts on Reality & Hard Work

Photo by George Miller

There is no substitute for hard work”

For some, the concept of hard work & the perceived discomfort it will bring (and the perceived ‘lack’ of results that follow) is just not worth the effort. I think we live in a time, now more so than ever before, where people want instant gratification; so many people see results but do not anticipate the hard work it requires to get there and become quick to make excuses once they realize they are not willing to invest the time and effort required.

The competitive sporting environment like Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is not immune to this phenomenon. Some practitioners will desire rank and medals, but are not prepared to put in the work required to get there, then will bemoan their failures as if they had done all they could to achieve their desired outcome. This is yet another example of cognitive dissonance in action; when our beliefs and perceptions of ourselves do not match up to the reality reflected in our actions (or lack thereof in this case).

There is a very real factor that underpins the Martial Art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, it’s called Reality. This factor manifests in a very simple way: As we sit and think about our training, we might find ourselves thinking of a technique we want to try in our next session. If that technique is practical & efficient, our timing and attention to the details are sound, it will likely work. If it is not these things, Reality will deny it from working. This is the fundamental reason that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu proves itself to be such an effective martial art; every technique is tested against the Reality factor. Our mental approach to the art is no different and Reality still governs this; no matter how good we believe we are, Reality will only reflect the efforts you have put in.

I see people who train occasionally or as hobbyists getting frustrated and visibly lose their composure on the mats when they are unable to ‘beat’ a competitor who trains every day. This is a perfect example of where someone’s perception of their own skill level does not match up with the reality of the work they put in. The same goes when a competitor comes up short in competition; regardless of the hard work and preparation a person puts in, the Reality was that someone else was better prepared.

Bear in mind, none of this is criticism, merely objective observation of what I’ve seen (and experienced myself too). None of us are immune to Reality and we are all accountable for our own hard work (or lack of). It’s important for all of us, as martial artists, to reflect upon our own abilities, flaws and areas that require improvement. All of these things take hard work, but for those who are prepared to put that work in the benefits are immeasurable.


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