Roy Dean, Jujutsu specialist and expert has spoken of the meaning of his famous phrase "Discover Who You Are", (which can be read here). In his article Roy touches upon a very important truth that resonates with me very powerfully. In his article Roy says:
"Allow the discipline (BJJ) to transform you. A lot of people end up serving
the discipline; they get injured, they give up their wife, they give up
their job to chase the discipline. The discipline should enhance your
life, you should never serve the discipline." (emphasis mine).
As a Christian I believe all forms of idolatry are wrong, and the martial arts can become as much of an idol as anything else, spiritual or material in our lives. What Roy is expounding here conveys this very same principle. Jujutsu should not become an idol in peoples' lives. If it does then it cannot enhance only enslave. Idols are misplaced forms of worship and service. They are substitutes for the only true, living God. When we are living for our idol then our lives are out of balance, our priorities are misplaced and our relationships suffer. Only God can bring our lives into balance, the 10 Commandments are a fantastic example of this - serve the Lord God first then your relationships with your parents, spouse and community will fall into place.
As Dean says the martial arts should enhance our lives but they are not to be served. Later this year I will emigrate to Japan to marry my Japanese fiancee. I do not want to lose the skills and experience I have gained through my training in Aiki-Jujutsu; I do not want to lose the passion I have for Jujutsu. But I am not moving to Japan primarily to practice the martial arts. I am not going there to slavishly serve or indulge my own passion for Jujutsu. Jujutsu has a place in my life and yes my life has been enhanced by it - but it is not the most important thing in my life. I am encouraged by Dean's article, a man who has dedicated so much of his life to the mastery of Jujutsu in all its forms and expressions and yet has retained his perspective and priorities on life. There is much wisdom in what Dean says about the meaning of "Discover Who You Are". My fiancee and faith mean more to me than Jujutsu.
Dean opens his article by claiming:
"Jiu-jitsu is one of those rare life disciplines that can be interesting
for decades… and it can stay with you in different periods of your
My life this year is moving from one state into another - from singleness to married life; from my home country of England to Japan and all of the cultural changes that that will bring. My training in Jujutsu will have to adapt or be put on hold to work around my other priorities. Jujutsu will always have a place in my life but that is not on a shrine
where I bow before it and sacrifice everything else for it.