During a recent discussion regarding the use of words to insult or denigrate folks that are different from us, the word hobbyist was used.
Of course there is a distinction between someone who is a professional, or at least approaches whatever they are doing in a professional manner versus someone who is lackadaisical.
I’m not sure if I qualify, (in the opinion of others), as a professional as I’m confused by the criteria used to measure professional versus non-professional. I will say this to describe myself; I’m an unapologetic enthusiast. I love everything about this endeavor, and I want to do it all. So today I did some movement drills with a Bowie knife, and then shot some .44 mag out of a Single Action Revolver. I don’t know if shooting 240 gr 44 mag ammo that’s traveling at eleventy-billion feet per second will in some way benefit my fighting skills. Nor do I know if working on some movement patterns I learned in a class on big blades will ever save my life from a violent criminal actor. I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’ve been employed as an armed professional for 2/3’s of my adult life. Not only has this been my professional life, it’s also been my personal life. I have trained on my own time, and dime because this has also been my hobby. I supposed the distinction between professional, and hobbyist for me has been when I’m on someone else’s time and dime to do it versus when I’m doing it on my time and dime.
Regardless of whether I’m a pro or a Joe, more than any other reason, I do it because it makes me happy. Because it’s fun. Because America. Because making everything about death, drudgery, and morbid masturbatory fetishization is a buzz kill.
Also, because America. Did I mention that already? Because it needs to be mentioned often. Because life. Liberty. Pursuit of Happiness. We need more people doing this stuff, not less. Encourage folks. Don’t belittle them. There very real threats to our rights at work 24/7/365, and anything, (even name calling), that divides us makes us easier to conquer. If that happens it won’t matter who is a pro and who is a hobbyist now will it?
This endeavor is infinite. Which can be frustrating since we can’t quantify infinity. How do we measure something when we don’t know the end point? There is no way of even knowing if we are at infinities half way point. We can only keep pressing onward.
Realizing this journey is infinite presents one of the problems with setting goals that are too rigid. As we evolve we get a better idea of what we can do. As we get a better idea of what we can do we might realize our goals aren’t ambitious enough. What we once thought was going to take years might only take months or even days. We learn more about ourselves, and our art as we grow, and as a result we learn we might be far more capable than we thought. We moved our goal post.
Set goals, and work towards them while knowing we will never reach the end. Also while knowing, goals in this game are just guides that change as we evolve.
Yes, there’s a sport attached. MMA, and Jiu-Jitsu competitions are a convenient testing environment where the worst that happens is we tap out or get injured if we fail. Where else are we supposed to test ourselves? Bar fights? Fights in the prison yard? C’mon man, give it a rest. You’re street. I dig it but there’s more to it than that.
Yes, there’s a self-defense aspect. Actually fighting, dealing with violent criminal offenders. Yes you need to know how to throw punches, kicks, elbows, knees, and headbutts. You also need to know how to shut those down. Jiu-Jitsu also includes defense against impact, and edges weapons as well as firearms, and for the most part it always has. I get it. Sport is more fun, it’s more creative, and an all around healthy endeavor. Plus, nobody likes to think about the negative side of this stuff which is dealing with a violent criminal assault. However, we have to think about it because that’s also Jiu-Jitsu.
Then there is the art aspect. The side of this endeavor that makes us a better human. Jiu-Jitsu can change people for the better. It can open minds, build relationships, and expand our understanding of the world around us. Sometimes, maybe most of the time we build this without our conscious effort as a result of doing the work. Jiu-Jitsu isn’t easy, nor should it be. It builds toughness the only way possible. By burning us into the ground then building us back up again. We do our part by consistently showing up, gut-checking ourselves, and doing the work. Jiu-Jitsu does it’s part by grinding away our ego which removes a host of problems that limit our ability to show our best selves to those around us.
We have to rise above the arguments of sport versus street within Jiu-Jitsu. Coach Chris Haueter has been preaching the truth of Jiu-Jitsu for a very long time; Think street, train sport, practice the art. We need every aspect to be a complete Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Jiu-Jitsu is a complete martial art if we’ll let it be.