Though I have only met him once, Roy Dean has quickly become an inspiration, and a jits mentor if you will for me. His approach to the art is balanced seemingly both on the mat and off. Though he excels at BJJ, he remains humble and does not take anything too seriously.
His most recent blog post is a transcription of an interview Dean did, and it encapsulates what I feel but in a much more elegant, coherent manner. I too feel that the mat represents truth. You can choose to hide, or neglect the truth, but the mat shows the absolute honest truth at that very moment in time. Buddha would say that the mat represents the cloth that wipes the dust from our mirrors. Our mirror being our true nature, dust representing the emotions and attachments we collect from our past, and subsequently worrying about our future. In essence we are rarely in the moment, so how can we know our true nature?
"Discover who you are" is Deans motto for business and life, and below he offers his explanation of the moniker:
Discover Who You Are -
"Essentially I’ve discovered that if you chip away at something, not only will you become more skilled at it but it will transform you. Jiu-jitsu is one of those rare life disciplines that can be interesting for decades… and it can stay with you in different periods of your life. So you start as a teenager, you’re at one mental space. You continue through college and your 20s… You get married, you have kids, you’re in your 30s. You know, the gym may get boring for you. You may enjoy rock climbing for a few years, you may enjoy mountain biking for a few years. You may enjoy those disciplines for an entire life. I feel that BJJ, or jiu-jitsu in general, is a dynamic form of yoga. I did not come up with that, that was Matt Thornton I originally heard that from. But I really feel it’s true. It takes you and puts you in a situation where you’re working with and against your evolutionary instincts to not be dominated.
It brings you to one pointed concentration while you are moving around on the mat and there’s something very cleansing about that, and there’s something that is kind of primal about that. And we’re able to funnel it through the techniques of jiu-jitsu; we’re able to actually transform these evolutionary instincts that we have to fight or flee. And be able to create something very rich and very complex; essentially a physical language where we can communicate with each other without exchanging words. You really can tell a person’s personality when you roll with them. So jiu-jitsu is a lifetime art . And once you’re able to get on the escalator, you stick with it, you discover things about yourself.
I am much more skilled than I ever imagined I would be. Now that’s not to say that I’m the most skilled. There are plenty of guys that are way tougher but if you just stick with it. You think as a white belt, “Man, if I could only get my blue belt” then “If I could just get my purple.” And eventually you’re a black belt and you’re like “Man there’s so much more to learn”. It’s so much different. You definitely realize the high end and the low end and you discover your own limitations. And you learn to accept them. It’s OK. You know? You beat someone in a match, that’s great. You lose to someone in a match and you’re like, “Heh, that guys better”. And once you’re honest… once you’re honest with yourself, it just takes you down and squares you. There’s a certain truth and reality that the mat brings out in you that allows you to sit a little bit more comfortably in your own skin and in your own soul.
So that is “Discover Who You Are”.
Allow the discipline to transform you. A lot of people end up serving the discipline; they get injured, they give up their wife, they give up their job to chase the discipline. The discipline should enhance your life, you should never serve the discipline. And sometimes you lose perspective on that. I have certainly stepped over that line where I’ve lost perspective and over trained. “Oh, this means so much.” Where you’re crushed after a loss, you’re elated after a victory. Hey man these are just markers, they’re milestones on your own journey. No one else is watching. It’s your own trip. Enjoy it. Craft your journey carefully and you will discover who you are."