Joy Jiu Jitsu.

Posted: August 16, 2018 in Postcards from Cancerland., Uncategorized
I’m realizing that many of the small struggles in my life have prepared me for the big fight that I currently find myself in the midst of.
Even the small silly squabbles that seem kind of insignificant…
I remember an old story that I would like to forget…
When I was thirteen, my mom’s boss, who not only was a pharmacist but also a black belt in karate, was sure martial arts would be my ticket to popularity and success. He convinced my mom that it would be good for my waning self-esteem and that I would learn some much needed self-defense skills—which would come in handy on the mean streets of Owasso, Oklahoma.
He convinced me that I could be the next Chuck Norris and talked me into taking jiu jitsu. My folks shelled out 45 bucks for the uniform, and I actually got a little excited. Maybe this would be my “thing.” Maybe, just maybe I could be the next Chuck Norris. Stranger things have happened, right?
I went the first week and met the instructor. He was a slightly overweight, off-duty cop who took himself entirely too seriously. He had an incredibly thick red neck and a flattop hair cut. During the first lesson he took me aside and spent 15 minutes explaining to me how he was probably one of the toughest men I’d ever meet and then proudly demonstrated this by actually showing me eight pressure points on my body. Because of his vast knowledge and skill, he could, by applying the right kind of pressure to these spots, kill me, temporarily paralyze me, or make me lose control of my bodily functions.
This was terrifying stuff for a 14-year-old, especially the bodily function part. I went home scared but also a little hopeful that maybe I could learn this pressure point stuff so I could use it on the next person who made fun of me because I was short. I would simply press a secret spot on his ear and make him wet all over himself. It would be awesome.
The second week we learned some fundamentals guaranteed to turn us into well-tuned, lethal fighting machines. We learned valuable fundamentals like how to tie our karate belts and how to pronounce cool karate words like sensei, gi, and dojo.
The third week the instructor (or sensei) informed us that using the fundamentals we’d learned the previous week, we would be free-sparring with each other. This meant we’d actually be fighting someone else in the class. At first I thought this might actually be fun, but then he teamed me with the only girl in the class. I was supposed to fight her. Not only was she a girl, but she was also younger and smaller than me. I felt a little sorry for this poor, defenseless female. So I thought I’d just take it easy on her—I’d dance around make it look good, but I wouldn’t hurt her.
As I was thinking this, the little girl grabbed me by the collar and flipped me over her shoulder. I quickly hopped up and thought I’d better be a little more careful, but I still didn’t want to hurt her because I was brought up learning that you never hit a girl.
Suddenly, she grabbed me and flipped me again. Some of the guys in the class started to snicker a little bit. At this point, I also realized that I hadn’t tied my karate belt correctly, it came loose and my uniform (or gi) flew open exposing my chunky girth and unleashing a tidal wave of adolescent self-consciousness.
This was all very embarrassing.
I decided I didn’t care if she was a girl, she was going down. I assumed an offensive posture and started to make my move. She countered by grabbing me and flipping me again.
I lay there on my back listening to everybody, including the instructor, laughing at me—it was horrible. I got up, dusted myself off, and walked out of there. I never went back.
So when I quit, I was only about 4 years away from getting my black belt so that pretty much makes me an expert…RIGHT? Not so much.
But, in the following years, I DID learn a highly specialized form of spiritual combat…joy jiu jitsu.
It’s what I am practicing in my current fight.
Here are a few things I have learned…
* Make sure that your karate belt is tied, otherwise you can really embarrass yourself. OR better yet, live BEYOND embarrassment. Lose your self-consciousness and laugh at yourself.
* the concept behind jiu jitsu is that a small, weaker person can defend themselves against a bigger, stronger person by using the right leverage. It’s not about what you have, it’s about how you use what you have.
* In martial arts there are exercises that you go through called “katas”. A kata is a series of steps that you go through to practice and position yourself. It’s best to follow each move with a loud grunting noise. Katas are all about remembering what you need to know and rehearsing in your mind where you need to be.
In joy jiu jitsu we have a kata too, it’s something to know, remember and continually meditate on as you fight.
Here is our joy jiu jitsu kata: “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Our joy jiu jitsu kata reminds us that we have an unseen strength. Even when we face impossibly big problems we can let joy be our leverage.
JOY is not a feeling or happy little buzz, it’s a deep knowing that life may not always be fun or easy, but it’s always a gift so I will treat it as such. It’s a inner peace that everything is gonna be alright that causes you to rejoice regardless of outward circumstances.
Happiness and Joy are usually two completely different things. Happiness often is based on circumstances. If everything is going your way…if you are healthy and getting what you want…you are happy.
Joy is not about what is happening TO you, it’s about what happened IN you.
Joy is never out of reach, even in the darkest times, you can get ambushed by joy.
Joy is based on the unsinkable fact that God loves you and you can trust Him.
It’s all about remembering what you need to know and rehearsing in your mind where you need to be.
We have the hope of a God, whose love is stronger than whatever opponent is staring us down.
I can beat this because I have hope…
I can beat this because I am loved…
I have joy because I can beat this.
Joy is born of hope.
It is a superpower.
I fight with joy.
(Photograph is a Samurai in 1866 by Felice Beato)

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