“Jiu Jitsu makes me very happy — regardless of how good or bad I am at it — and how dim my prospects of ever excelling at it. It’s become a family tradition: my wife does it pretty much as a profession, seeking to tear knees and ankles off people — or occasionally, helping to teach others how to do same. My daughter does it because it’s fun — and because every young girl, if possible, should be free of ever being physically intimidated by a boy (I pity the first little boy who shoves my daughter to the ground).
I do it because it’s hard. Because it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And because it never ends. Every day presents me with a series of problems that I spend the rest of the day thinking about how I might solve — or at least chip away at. Next day same. And the day after that.
It’s like being the newest, worst cook in the kitchen all over again, looking up that impossibly steep learning curve to the broiler station. I liked that feeling then. I like it now.
The first day, all those years ago, when my chef addressed me by name at the end of the shift, was a golden moment.
When I recently got my blue belt, after over two years of training, it was, other than the birth of my daughter, pretty much the greatest day of my life. That belt doesn’t mean I’m any good at jiu jitsu, by the way. It just means that I worked really, really hard at something. And that presumably, I suck at it just a tiny bit less.”