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My Sack Of Benefit

Nowadays sport became essential part of our life. But I'm not going to talk about professional sports which take place on international arenas or shown on TV screen. Just about ordinary people's leisure activity. The majority of arguments for the benefit of sport usually support health, entertainment and fun.


But I would like to remind you one story from the times when people did not practice sport activity the way we do it now. Perhaps they did not have leisure time enough. This story is about Serafim Sarovsky, one of the most honorable holy men in Russian Orthodox Church. He lived at the turn of the XVIII and XIX centuries. Once he took a sack full of stones, put it on his back and carried such a load while walking down the path. People asked: "Why do you carry it? You will be tired soon for nothing!" Sarovsky kept moving and afterwards replied: "It will be better to get tired from this stones than my own thoughts".

More than 200 years passed but the same problems remain. Often and often people are depressed by upsetting thoughts. Why don't we follow Sarovsky's method nowadays?


I am a lawyer and I conduct legal affairs in courts. In my legal practice I get many cases that are not clear for me at first sight and I feel full of doubts sometimes. I think about them again and again. I could play these mental games constantly. But I found my own sack. Not with stones. Lighter. But it has weight also. It is my brain cleaner.


Let's have a look. As you see this is kimono or gi. Twice a week I put on this garment and I try to recharge my mind. I practice Jiu-Jitsu. It's martial art that looks very much like Judo. But there is a difference between them. Judo fighters usually try to throw each another on the ground. They get points for throws. But for Jiu-Jitsu practitioners fighting on the feet makes no sense. For them a real fight starts on the ground. They try to finish the fight with painful hold on different joints (elbow, shoulder, knee joints and other) or stranglehold around the neck - to cause difficulty in breathing for opponent.


What do I get from this activity? I don't want to talk much about physical exercises or fun, because I think that the first one is for old men and the second one - for boys. I am neither old nor young. I get new knowledge and new experience. For years I've been practicing Judo, Sambo and other martial arts. But Jiu-Jitsu is different. It is not about strength but about techniques. Some movements are difficult for me to perform. It may be even uncomfortable. But it's more mental than physical exercise: to get comfortable being uncomfortable. It's like real life: the more simple things you do, the harder life you have. You have to do hard things to be happy in life.


As I said training helps me to reconstruct my thoughts after legal matters. During the training I am focused on Jiu-Jitsu. I forget about cases, clients, opponents, judges. It gives me refreshment. Next morning after training I always feel a slight pain in my body. But my mind is clear for work. Could it be a benefit for me? Sure enough! Not only for my physical and mental states, but for my career!


Jiu-Jitsu may be practiced both as in gi as no gi. I would like to say a few words about gi. As usual the jacket's lapels and sleeves are used for holding your opponent. But there are some tricks with it. The jacket must be fitting in well with your needs and needs of your rival. What do I mean? It will be better for your own attack and rival's actions restriction if you hold your rival at least for one sleeve. But sleeves may be shorter or tighter. It may be done intentionally by your rival. And when your rival bends the arm you can not take and hold the sleeve. A rival gets the advantage. But it's not a benefit for him. Why? Wait a minute and you will understand.


Another point. As you see the gi is made not from smooth fabric. Some of kimono producers use very rough fabric. It may be so rough that it's painful to hold it. Some producers make the gi which looks like a shell. You know for what reason beetles use shells. For the defense. Some wrestlers in such kimonos look like in the shells. It is good both for competition and defense when they try to win at all costs. But it's not benefit too. Why?


Because there is always a reverse side of the case. It's like in the life. If you want to receive you have to give first. You can not stay in comfort zone and grow up. You have to try something challenging.

Jiu-Jitsu is likewise. If your gi is shorter, tighter or made from rough fabric you can think less about defense and more about attack. You have obvious advantage. But under these circumstances you do not learn how to defend yourself. You do not grow. Sooner or later you change your kimono for the fitting one but you will lose the chance to improve your defense techniques.


So friends, now you know my way how to clean thoughts and get refreshment. I am sure that each of you has your own methods and you know how to get benefits from your favourite activity. But when next time during everyday communication with other people you will hear the expressions:

to get comfortable being uncomfortable,

the more simple things you do, the harder life you have,

if you want to receive you have to give first,

remember- these expressions are about Jiu-Jitsu!