This past weekend, I attended a self-defense for women class at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu center here in Austin.
Within the first fifteen minutes, I learned two very important things:
1. I would be very, very easy to attack. My self-defense skills consist of whining, “Ouch!” and falling promptly to the floor, pinned by my aggressor. (This could be kinda hot in the right scenario, but not if I were actually being attacked.)
2. If I stand any chance of fending off an attacker, it’s by using leverage, not force.
BJJ is all about the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique. The idea is to take the fight to the ground by applying cool moves like joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person.
Well it turns out that I injured myself halfway through the class and had to sit out for the remainder. I felt like a complete weakling, like a fragile piece of glass, getting hurt that quickly. But it did give me time to consider this idea of using leverage, not force, to succeed against an aggressor.
I immediately realized how this concept could be applied to the “battle” of living with chronic illness, and that if we want to defeat our opponent – in this case, our illness – then we need to give up force and use leverage instead.
We need to fight smarter, not harder.
What this means to me is taking our attention away from our anger and frustration regarding our circumstances and putting it instead on the leverage points where we can actually create change, like the food we eat and the thoughts we think.
When we use these points of leverage, like we use joint-locks and chokeholds in jiu-jitsu, we can move our “opponent” to a no-win position. We can create the situation in our bodies and minds where illness simply cannot take hold.
Sometimes, we all have moments where we just want to rail against the unfairness of being sick. It sucks! But meeting the force of MS with the force of our own rage won’t get us anywhere. Instead, we need to fight smarter, not harder. We need to leverage the places where we can actually make effective change in our circumstances.
Where, in your life right now, can you be fighting smarter, not harder?