Just give me, give me, give me!
Years ago I sat and listened to a restaurant owner talk about how people viewed his business. He said people would always make comments like, “It must be nice to own a nice big restaurant” or “Wow, I wish I didn’t have to go to work everyday like you.” He observed that what they were saying was they wanted what he had, and they wanted it now. He said to me, “What they didn’t see was the twenty plus years of working two jobs. The years of cutting expenses so he could save money, missing vacations, driving an old beat up car and more.” What they also didn’t see was that he got every morning at 5 am and went to bed close to midnight still working to build his business.
When it comes to my profession which is owning and operating a Jiu-Jitsu school, I hear and see the same things. I see two types of people. One is the guy who trains Jiu-Jitsu. This guy wants to open a school but he wants to do it half way, with old mats, and only have two or three classes a week so he can enjoy his free time. He wants to be full time at the gym but only work ten hours a week. He enjoys the sport but wants to have plenty of time to enjoy life. This guy will complain that people don’t show up to every class, they can’t get more than twenty students, and when they do come they only stay for one month. What these guys don’t see is the fifteen hours a week of cleaning, the ten hours of marketing, the ten hours of study followed by the out of gym workouts just to stay ahead of your competition. They don’t see the money you saved to buy new mats, paint, and signs. It’s a huge sacrifice.
The second guy I see is the karate guy. This guy drives me crazy. He wants to teach Jiu-Jitsu in his school. It’s clear that Jiu-Jitsu is the better style, but this isn’t why he wants to teach. He wants to teach for money. People want Jiu-Jitsu so he will watch a few videos and then show them like he knows something. What he doesn’t see is the ten plus years of a Jiu-Jitsu professor driving an hour or more to train twice a day. He doesn’t see the hundreds of competitions at each belt. He doesn’t see the blood, broken bones, and sacrifice that goes into achieving the rank of Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Then this same karate guy will get mad when you say he has no right to say he teaches Jiu-Jitsu. Put that into any other profession and you would say the karate guy should be put in jail. Can you imagine going to a doctor, pharmacist or lawyer only to find out they have never been to college. You would sue them and be really angry.
The problem in both cases is people want something they didn’t earn. My dad taught me to never accepted something you didn’t earn. That’s why we don’t have belt test in Jiu-Jitsu. I don’t want to ever feel obligated to give a belt just because someone gave me a check. I want students to earn each stripe. There is a great feeling when you earn something.
Here is my advice to anyone reading this. Take time to find what you really want in life, and then go get it. Put in the work and be willing to make the sacrifice. I’m not done yet by any means. In fact I feel like i’m just getting started. I can tell you two things though. When I walk into my gym I know the work I have put in to be here. When I put on my black belt I think of the last 13 years of training to get to this point. In both cases I wouldn’t trade a single minute, because I know I have worked for it. Stop asking for hand outs. Humble yourself and start working. Nothing comes easy and if it does it’s probably not that great. If you work for it, one day you will have it, and I promise it will be even sweeter.