Why Millennials Need Martial Arts
How Jiu-jitsu Allowed Me to Save a Life
It was a normal day like any other. I was distracted, not doing my assigned schoolwork and goofing off like I always did. I didn't know today would be the day that testing my training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This would be more important than any other test I had ever taken in a classroom.
A loud thud interrupted my procrastination, I didn't really think much of it. I glanced over from my computer screen as a student's head bounced off the desk just a few feet from me. My initial observation didn't even register that someone was being viciously attacked.
The room immediately immersed in panic, screams and confusion. One student had egged on another student, and well, rightfully so, was getting his butt kicked for it. However, the situation wasn't just a simple scrap. The attacking student rendered the other student unconscious and continued to beat his lifeless body into the floor strike after strike. Now I'm not a medical doctor, but I knew that wasn't good news.
In the moments between the initial contact with the desk, and the beating on the floor, my chemistry teacher attempted to intervene. To make matters worse, the attacking student turned on her. It was in this moment she screamed for help, and I knew what had to be done.
I pushed the few kids in my way out to create a clear path between myself and the attacker. I latched my hand onto the top of his skull, and forced it down between my arm pit and my side where I applied what is known as a "Guillotine" choke. I counted in my head 1... 2... 3... and about that time I felt his whole body go limp as his dead weight arms hit my legs. I safely lowered his limp body to the floor where I held him until he woke.
I knew things weren't over, but the entire class pleaded for me to let him go. I obliged to prevent any wrong doing on my behalf. I got up, put space between him and myself, expecting he would turn on me. A few moments went by and things seemed to be normal. Boy was I wrong, and I kick myself for ever have letting him up. Hindsight 20/20, you know.
He wandered his way back over to the student he attacked, which by now was being helped up by the "empathetics" in the crowd. He was trembling, confused, and covered in blood at this point. I figured someone from the faculty should have arrived by now. I made assumptions, and I should have known better. I let him go and he began his attack again... and so did I.
Within a split second I grabbed him once again from behind, wrapped myself around him and proceeded to put him to sleep. This time, I used a rear-naked choke or "mata-leon." I didn't let him go this time. The choke was released enough to allow him oxygen to the brain and for him to wake up. He yelled and screamed to let him go, but he had already burned that bridge just moments before.
I was covered in blood, he was covered in blood, and now a few teachers had made their ways in from other classrooms. Sitting there with him in my arms, I continued to wrestle and hold him down until school police arrived. The damned thing about it is that I was never allowed to wash up after the fact and was sent to my next class... covered in blood. Typically I dressed pretty casual, but today I was wearing nice khaki's and a nice shirt. I looked like I had murdered someone just a few minutes ago.
They took me in to file a report and absolved me of any wrong doing. Later in the year, I was given a character award from the faculty for my performance that day. Obviously, not any awards were given to me for my academics. I really was a slacker when it came to school work.
If you've ever heard, "You can't judge a fish's ability to climb a tree," that applied to me that day. I am not a bookworm, I generally suck at schoolwork, but that day I knew something that was more important than anything I had ever been taught.
I belong to the millennial generation, and my genuine consensus of ourselves is that we are extremely weak. We want everything given to us, we don't want to work hard, and I totally get that. We are the most underpaid, and overcharged populous that has ever inhabited planet Earth. But we can't let our circumstances get us down. If there's anything I've learned from Martial Arts, it is how to be a judge of character and how to achieve my goals in the midst of adversity. If you can fight through someone trying to bend your limbs and choke you unconscious, you can start that business, you can ask that girl or guy out, you can stop making excuses and you can be more for yourself every single day.
Martial arts is a vehicle for human improvement, and who knows, maybe you'll improve someone else's life by protecting them and preventing them from being a vegetable or even losing their life.
"No one has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which the body is capable" — Socrates