" One of the greatest tragedies in life is being good at the WRONG THING." - Joel Salatin
When I started training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, I had a dream that one day I would be good enough to represent Jiu-Jitsu in the "War" on Martial Arts. Jiu-Jitsu changed my life and I wanted to be on the front lines doing battle for the art. I had visions of fighting in Rorion Gracie's, UFC and walking down the aisle with the Gracie train...
Unfortunately, by the time I was old enough, The UFC had been moved in a completely different direction. It turned into a different company with a different vision and now the term "MMA" was coined. My focus then switched to becoming an MMA fighter (accidentally, as time went on). Reflecting back on this, this forced my values to change. I started conforming to the sport and training how everyone else was training. I went from trying to be the best FOR ME to being the best FOR THEM.
"The opposite of Courage is Conformity." - Rickson Gracie
I wanted to fight for the art and when the shift occurred I started fighting for money, visions of fame, and misguided rewards. What amazed me was the fact that I was tougher, hungrier, and more focused when I wasn't making any money fighting or even thought about making money.
The Vision Was Blurred
As I grew up I found myself dreaming of representing Jiu-Jitsu, dreaming of overcoming obstacles from my childhood. I would've fought for Jiu-Jitsu in any conditions, against anybody. I wanted to live and breathe Jiu-Jitsu forever. This didn't have much to do with PPV or hype up interviews.
Half way through my MMA career I was complaining about not making $250 extra dollars on a contract. I was worried about what fight I was on the fight card. How many tickets I sold and what type of shorts I was wearing. What did I turn into? What does this tell us?
Your personal values and your WHY must be bigger than the goals. You must stick to these values and ALWAYS remember WHY you started. WHY you continued and then finally WHAT you want to be said when it is all over...
A few fights before I halted my professional career, I started to find IMMENSE joy in teaching Jiu-Jitsu. I had been teaching Jiu-Jitsu side by side competing my whole career. I always "liked" teaching, but didn't realize the true accomplishment and happiness I would feel from teaching. I thought fighting, winning, and smashing rivals was everything. But as I taught more, I found joy, as I taught more, I saw IMPACT, I saw my future. I saw my past help my future become clear and I saw people impacted like I was. This reminded me of the "WHY."
I realized that I could change THOUSANDS of people's lives by spreading and teaching art.
The fight for Jiu-Jitsu had been fought by the Gracie Family, my job was to be a MESSENGER of the art!
Professional MMA taught me some amazing life lessons, gave me great stories to tell...but I was "good at the wrong thing." MMA gave me empty victories, I never truly FELT like a champion because I was always trying to one up myself. Teaching gave me an insight on how I could give back through knowledge, how I could help people, and how I could change the world.
My GOALS originally, were and always had been for Jiu-Jitsu, for the art, the thirst for knowledge and empowerment. I believe MMA helped with that, but it also got me off track from reaching out to people that need Jiu-Jitsu just like I needed Jiu-Jitsu. Some people were made to compete and are competitors in the truest sense. It has nothing to do with some analogy of a wolf to a sheep. It has to do with doing what you need in life to give yourself the path to purpose and happiness. If fighting and competing provides the ultimate satisfaction...DO IT and be the best at it, settle for nothing less.
• If you are doing something for reasons that don't involve personal happiness, true purpose, and a LOVE for the craft...the bus is going in the wrong direction, get off!
• I am a messenger of the art, I fought to test myself. I competed to improve myself everyday. I learned what not to do and learned the hard way.
• My job now is to relate my experiences to the future generation so that they will be better versions and will continue evolution, leading by example, which is the only way!
Eddie Fyvie - Jiu-Jitsu was my guide to finding the meaning of life.
What is a Gi?
A Gi or a Kimono is the traditional training attire of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. In the late 1800's as Jigoro Kano was creating the sport of Judo, he created a uniform that modeled the standard attire of day to day clothing. The Gi was made into three parts...A woven cotton jacket, canvas cotton pants, and a belt. The Gracie's adopted this uniform in accordance with the art they learned from Mitsuo Maeda.
It Looks Like A Business Suit...
You are right! At that time in Japan, that was what men were usually wearing. Although women were not wearing suits, apparel such as jeans, shirts, etc. can be similar. In order to mimic reality in training, they wanted to wear something that restricted your freedom of movement and also, something that felt similar to what you walked around in on a day to day basis. Not wanting to rip or tear their regular clothes, they settled for a cotton uniform that survived the rigors of training. If you look at the makeup of a Gi, you will notice the resemblance of the suit.
Isn't No-Gi A Lot More Realistic For Self-Defense?
NO... No-Gi is NOT more realistic.
It is comfortable to wear shorts, a rash guard, and some compression pants in practice. However, on the street, you do not usually wear clothing that is that comfortable. You will be wearing some type of attire that restricts movement (I.e. Jeans, jacket, collared shirt, polo shirt, hoodie, etc.).
Wearing the Gi becomes unrealistic for a fight when you start using the Gi as a "crutch" to control positions, instead of a tool that leads to an effective finish. If you grab the Gi or use it in training, have a direction and purpose. DO SOMETHING with the grip, otherwise, focus on controlling the human. Get used to wearing something similar to what you will be wearing!
White Gi's Are Not Fashionable
So...since when is fashion the foundation of Jiu-Jitsu? I believe an academy/team must have uniformity. This brings everyone together and creates an enhanced spirit in the academy. The white Gi represents the following.
When Gi Training Goes Wrong
Eddie Bravo is an innovative Jiu-Jitsu instructor that came up with an idea of removing the Gi to be more effective in MMA and made a lot of techniques along the way. He saw a problem and trend, Jiu-Jitsu guys were training in a way where they were becoming RELIANT on the Gi. This reliance came from the practice of the sport/tournament aspect of Jiu-Jitsu. Grapplers were looking for any advantage they could get in order to win a grappling tournament instead of strategies that could utilize more effectiveness to submit the opposition. This created an era of insane grips, stalling, Gi manipulation, etc.
The Gi, didn't ruin effectiveness, the SPORT ruined effectiveness.
When you play a sport or in MMA's case fight in a sport, you need to conform and adapt to the rules to be 100% successful. You need to make sure in MMA that you are used to fighting/moving without the Gi. MMA was also becoming more difficult for strict Jiu-Jitsu practicioners because everybody was becoming a Jiu-Jitsu practicioner! The people that said they weren't, were. Nobody won that didn't learn! When the SPORT became more POPULAR than the ART, effectiveness started being diminished and conforming to the rules to secure victory takes precedence. Evolution increased with tougher opponents, more people training, and other grappling styles adding their flavor to Jiu-Jitsu.
---- > However, not everyone is focused on that sport. MOST are focused on a hobby, or Self-Defense system. The next time you GRAB the Gi ask yourself the following...
The Answer Is...Express Your Art.
Express your art to fit your needs and your personality. While doing this, remember where this Martial Art started and realize that our ART's founders put themselves in positions where they would DIE for the development of Jiu-Jitsu. Their philosophies ideals and values MUST be held in the highest regard, regardless of who's side or what. I believe, that if you forget the past, you will not move into the future in the right direction.
I believe the purpose of the art and all of it's strategies and tactics should be based around a UNIVERSAL philosophy of...
----> The Gi is for realism...
The Gi is our armor and represents the history of our art!
P.S. The next time a Jiu-Jitsu guy, who is basically wearing a body suit of spandex, makes fun or a joke of the Gi...Tell them to tell the same joke to Rickson or Renzo or Roger when they see them and let me know how they make out! :)
Self-Defense, Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ, jujitsu) in Malta, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, and Saratoga Springs
What Jiu-Jitsu IS vs. What It IS NOT
In 1993, the first UFC took place in Denver, Colorado. The whole event was structured and designed to showcase Martial Arts on a global platform and to find out what the MOST EFFECTIVE and REALISTIC form of Self-Defense/Martial Arts was. Jiu-Jitsu won quite easily and shed light on a certain “reality” that other Martial Arts were missing.
Jiu-Jitsu Is Reality
The purpose and principles of Jiu-Jitsu involve having a fundamental physical and psychological perspective of a real Self-Defense encounter. The art is based around the concept of “A smaller person being able to survive an attack by a MUCH larger individual.” This philosophy and approach created by the Gracie Family, after a century of fighting, analyzing and honest reflection, laid the foundation for GRACIE JIU-JITSU.
The core and the root of Jiu-Jitsu
MMA Is A Sport Developed Based Off Of American Culture
With the success of the first UFC, more UFC events began to follow. With the financial success of the first UFC, more opportunistic business men created other events and businesses to follow. This heightened exposure and this combined with our societies new found understanding of “Reality Based Martial Arts”, it forced all other disciplines to LEARN Jiu-Jitsu and evolve with the times. This combination of Jiu-Jitsu and other “traditional” Martial Arts created MIXED MARTIAL ARTS.
American culture is fascinated and addicted to “sport.” Our society is also obsessed with violence and at the same time totally against it (I know, doesn't make sense #Life). I always viewed the ORIGINAL UFC's, in it's purest form, as the most advanced case study for Self-Defense and Protection. I wanted to know what worked, what was real, and what made sense to my life. I did not see it as a bloodsport because I was trying to understand the technique. This was mostly due to the fact that I was in a SEVERE NEED for REAL Self-Defense due to the bad area I lived in.
We must remember, it was only meant for ONE NIGHT!
Over time the bloodsport turned people away, ushered it into a “dark age” and revived with ZUFFA to create “sport with blood... sometimes” that now has a lot more rules and safety precautions. Now Jiu-Jitsu is the most integral part of the sport and is combined with other disciplines, but we need to remember Jiu-Jitsu's, reality based concepts for LIFE!
Jiu-Jitsu vs. Other Martial Arts
GRACIE Jiu-Jitsu was developed through real fights. It was developed through the most intensive “case study” ever done for the Martial Arts. They were not creators, they were INNOVATORS. They re-modeled the Japanese Art they learned through intensive study and HONEST results of their combat encounters.
Most other Martial Arts are generally based upon principles of “THEORY” and have not been practiced without limitations and restrictions. This is usually done unknowingly or because the culture and society they live in frowns upon the use of violence. All of these restrictive training practices, conformed thought patterns, and untested training methodologies allowed a manifestation of incomplete Self-Defense systems.
All Martial Arts strengths and weaknesses, Jiu-Jitsu created a neutrality that allowed it to become complete. Below are some ideas of what certain Martial Arts are more applicable for...
Jiu-Jitsu Is FOR ALL
This amazing art is more of a lifestyle than an activity. More of a way to face life, than face opponents. When you learn this, you learn why Jiu-Jitsu helps you in every area of your life and will be the only thing that never plateaus and evolves as you do. For the life we live, there is nothing better than a Martial Art that is...
Saratoga Springs , NY – Malta, NY – Ballston Spa, NY
Definition of "Quarterlife Crisis" : A period of life ranging from twenties to thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful of their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult.
The "Quarterlife Crisis" is an analogy to the well known, "Midlife Crisis." Each segment of your life represents a transition and crossroads into your future and these two crises can start to formulate very quickly, bringing on lots of stress, reflection, and irrational decisions.
I firmly believe that the immediate decrease in the pursuit of knowledge and lack of continued mental stimulation following the "end"of your traditional schooling, allows this crisis to develop.
Sometimes we are struck with the feeling of not knowing what we truly desire for our future. This is when the QLC festers. It could be som many things. You may not have a firm grip on employment, finances, and relationships. It is hard to say.
I have not been immune to this crisis and have only come out less scathed due to the principles learned through Jiu-Jitsu that taught me how to face life and difficult situations.
How will Jiu-Jitsu cure this "ailment"?
Jiu-Jitsu is the most proven and effective Martial Art for Self-Defense. However, the subtle and subconscious training that you undergo is the medicine you receive that leads to Jiu-Jitsu curing the crisis.
As you train and practice Jiu-Jitsu you begin to progress through techniques and become skilled. However; along the way, you will start to see MUCH GREATER effects!
Here are FOUR reasons Jiu-Jitsu helps...
"You are only as successful as the FIVE people you hang around." - Jim Rohn
Five transformations I have witnessed
These are not coincidences and they are the WHY and HOW to how you and others can avoid or breakthrough the "Quarterlife Crisis" plateau. Never stop experimenting, trying, playing, and always look for better ways.
If you are someone that has used Jiu-Jitsu to enhance your life, I would love to hear. If you know someone that needs Jiu-Jitsu to help them reach a breakthrough in their life, make sure you introduce them to Jiu-Jitsu. It will be more than a favor, it will be a way to change and shape their life forever!
Saratoga Springs, NY - Malta, NY - Ballston Spa, NY
For the past TEN years, I have had the opportunity to teach thousands of kid's Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and have tried my best to empower them all to be successful in their lives. Through trial and error, training with Early Childhood Teachers, and working side by side with Jason Spector and Tom Murphy of Sweethearts & Heroes, I truly believe that our Children's Program has rounded out and become what I always envisioned.
However; over the years, as I have worked to combat and conquer all levels of Bullying and Social Issues our kid's face, I have realized that there is a sometimes MISSING ELEMENT...
Reforming The Bullies!
Jason Spector (Phys. Ed Teacher, Real Life Superhero) was the first person to bring this to my attention and it forced some deep thought on my part. It forced me to re-evaluate and change perspectives on how I viewed the Bullying Epidemic. Kid's are not born Bullies! There are TWO things we must come to understand in regards to "Reforming The Bullies."
Part One above, made me REVERSE most of my Anti-Bullying strategy. When I would ask children how many Bullies they know, the answer was ALWAYS one or two. There is simply a smaller percentage of Bullies. When Tom Murphy (SweetheartsAndHeroes.org) presents to school's all over the nation, he asks teachers to raise their hands if they can think of kid's that are Bullies. The hands always fly up in a matter of seconds! Are we all doing our best to REFORM the kid's that have accidentally become BULLIES?
When a student comes in who displays the character traits related to that of a Bully, my focus turns intently to them and I try my hardest to give them perspective on life, respect, and compassion and also see if I can get to the source of their problems and Self-Esteem issues. When I developed this focus, I noticed that these particular children had ZERO education in those life areas! I also, realized that a lot of the Bullies, in a positive light, were generally children that had greater physical attributes and verbal skills. Finding this, my idea was to try and nurture those gifts to help reverse their character "flaws" and turn them from villains into SUPERHEROES! They now will have the wisdom and awareness to go on and make other children on the cusp of being targeted feel IMPORTANT and SIGNIFICANT all while they increase their insecurities and Self-Esteem!
It is easy to overlook the Bully, but we must realize that these are children that were not born this way, they have simply had improper guidance, abuse, and limited life perspective.
This BULLY REFORM is a part of The Eddie Fyvie Jiu-Jitsu Academy's
THREE STEP action plan...
We must focus on leading by example in a modern world where Bullying has now become a 24 hour personal nightmare for kid's. If we can be more vigilant and if we can practice the THREE STEP action plan, there is HOPE that our society and future generations will be destined for success.
- Eddie Fyvie
Self-Defense, Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ, jujitsu) in Malta, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, and Saratoga Springs