Monday, January 26, 2009

The Spiritual Parallels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Guard

First and foremost, let me start this post off by sharing something else about myself with you. I am a Christian and my faith is something that is very important to me and very much a part of me. Over the weekend, I was contemplating the many parallels between BJJ and our spiritual lives. I decided it could make for an interesting series of blog posts. The metaphor of mat sports is an integral part of the book of Job, in which Job actually wrestles with God, so these concepts are nothing new.

As Christians, we are constantly under attack. The Adversary, combined with our own sinful natures, throws temptations and other attacks and spiritual traps into our lives on an ongoing basis. We struggle with these attacks, which are often very strong and can come from unexpected directions. Oftentimes, we are tremendously overmatched in these Spiritual Jiu-Jitsu maches and, as with BJJ, the only hope we hav to emerge victorious is to emulate our Master and employ the techniques He teaches us. I am going to diagram these attacks below as they would relate to a typical roll or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match.

The Adversary attacks, with a temptation or other trap. Doing what we know to do initially, we engage and attempt to tie up the Adversary, "pulling guard", spiritually.

A good guard, as we know, is an effective means of basically controlling your Adversary and keeping his attacks at bay. When you have your Adversary in guard, you should be working to keep his posture broken and his means of attack limited. However, you don't want to get complacent or lazy with your guard, and you don't want to exhaust yourself by just playing a "control" game with a strong Adversary. I speak from experience both in Brazilian and Spiritual Jiu-Jitsu. Your Adversary is vey strong and anything but complacent.

The Adversary is going to be constantly working to "pass" your guard or otherwise advance his position. The techniques of the Adversary can include bringing people, things, or circumstances against you, which may get you to "open" your guard or give the Adversary an opportunity to pass your guard and move into a more dominant position.

You need to be well-versed in techniques to advance your own position and dipose of your Adversary's attack as quickly as possible. This comes from spending time with your Master and learning from the examples He provides in the great instructional He has written. Also, as with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match, during Spiritual Jiu-Jitsu, as you grapple wit the Adversary, your Master is in your corner, calling out instructions. It is our choice whether we take those instructions to heart and follow them. If we do not it is often to our peril.

A way of advancing your position in spiritual jiu-jitsu is, when you feel the Adversary attempting to pass your guard, spring into action. Remove yourself from a person or circumstance that may lead you down a dark path, begin a different activity, pray. As much as possible be proactive rather than reactive to the attack. Go to work to both defend and advance. Sometimes, depending upon the type of trap or "pass" the Adversary attempts against your "spiritual guard", defending the pass may give you an opening for a "submission" a "spiritual triangle choke" if you will:

In this case, using what you have learned from your Master, you have defeated the Adversary's attack. Keep training, however, as another attack could come at any time and the Adversary may employ a new technique that you are not expecting.

In upcoming posts about the Spiritual Parallels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we will tackle topics including :

How to respond if your "spiritual guard" is passed
How to respond if your counter to a "spiritual guard pass" does not lead to an immediate "submission"

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