" 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.