It feels very strange to say out loud, but I have fallen in love with losing. Not all the time. Just from time to time. And I probably owe it all to… Training Jiu Jitsu.
Humility training started for me on day one. I walked into that first class with intentions of learning something new and partially to prove how tough I was to the friend who invited me. I had a reputation to uphold. Everyone who knew me and knew that I was Marine. Everyone who knew me well knew that I loved to scrap. The 16-year-old training partner that I was paired with new neither of these things. He did however tie me into knots and squeeze the breath out of my lungs.
Jiu jitsu is a submission sport. The techniques learned allow a physically weaker opponent to use positioning and leverage to defeat a stronger opponent. Victory is determined once one of the participants acknowledges defeat by tapping their opponent with a frantic “Please Stop!!!! Get Off of Me!!!!” motion. An extreme joint manipulation or variations of different chokes are usually the catalyst for the tap. The combatants then get to their feet, fix their Gis, and tie their belts. In a competition setting, the victor’s hand is raised and is off to their next opponent. In a training setting, the combatants give a high five or fist bump with one another to acknowledge their readiness for engagement. It then starts all over again.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been forced to tap out in the few years that I have been training. I can tell you that the percentage of me forcing another to tap is way lower. There have been times when tears have swelled up several times in my car on the way home from training. The frustration of seemingly not improving made me want to quit so many times.
With time in training things started to change. Tapping rate decreased by half. Sometimes even better (depending on who showed up for class). I was developing muscle memory and situational recognition. I was putting myself in fewer bad situations. And the more I won, the more I realized how unimportant victory truly was. The learning or the journey took precedent. I would try new things. Things that would put me back into a learning situation if I did them incorrectly. What did it really matter anyway? I’ve already tapped out 1 million times.
Slowly this mentality seeped into other aspects of my life. I was less likely to take losses work or home personally. I was looking at failures as an opportunity to grow now. To improve. I try to detach myself from emotion of failures and figure out a strategy to continue in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong. I am a human being. Sometimes it takes longer than others to detach. But now I eventually take an analytical approach to things.
So, we have been open for a week. Although literally 6 tee-shirts have been sold, we have learned a LOT in that. My parents, my aunt, and my Marine Corps Corpsman, Doc B (Love you brother) are proudly sporting the OG DD214 Tees in the wild. At our costs and margins, we have been able to generate less than $20 for the Semper Fi Fund. Definitely a start! Every cent to help our veterans is appreciated.
We will continue to look for ways to add value to DD214. Our Gi designs have been turned in and are now available for pre-order. We are adding a couple of different designs for Tee Shirts, Hoodies, and Rash guards. We are in communication with smaller Veteran organizations. While starting out, the lower amount of donation dollars that we are capturing should have a greater impact.
Please share our message and help us get Back in The Fight! You are our best marketing resource! Feel free to send us suggestions and feedback at our Facebook page DD214BJJ, Instagram DD214_fightwear, or email me personally firstname.lastname@example.org. We read every message and value what you tell us. We aren’t going anywhere and you best be sure that we are going to make a difference for those who have put it all on the line.