By Tom Flynn
I had a lovely SCAB knocking around in my head for a while about the importance of recreational violence. It exemplifies this fail again fail better attitude that’s important for all of us, not just creatives.
It would have been a perfect little segway into being ready to fail better on the first day of SCA. But you see dear reader, I actually went and did some recreational violence recently, and someone I was being recreationally violent with, fucking pissed me off, and so now that lovely scab has darkened in tone a little, I apologise for any strong language that may ensue.
I do Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (if you can’t picture it, google it) and have been doing it for the best part of nine years. It’s something I love, and I would go as far as to say it’s something I physically need to do in order to maintain my mental health.
One of my favourite things about is that the roll doesn’t lie (the roll being sparing). I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve got a feel for people. Almost as soon as I lock up with someone I know what they’re like, that initial contact gives a lot away;
Are they chill?
Do they spaz?
Do they play fast or slow?
Aggressive or reactive?
It’s all there if know how to read it, kind of like testing the water with your big toe before jumping in. You’ll get a feel for how good they are too. On a few occasions I’ve gripped up with someone and straight away known I was way out of my depth, and had to dive right into those deep waters anyway.
Doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, there’s no faking it on the mats. Everyone starts on equal footing and any hierarchy thereafter is a natural development that everyone respects because everyone saw you earn it.
But more importantly than that, you get a feel for the person themselves, who they are. You can be the nicest person in the world to my face but if you’re actually a cunt, I’ll know, straight away. The roll don’t lie, there’s nowhere to hide that malice, and if you got it in you it radiates out. No doubt I’ve felt that, but thankfully it’s rare, more often than not, it’s just insecurities that get exposed.
That’s what happened to me recently. A roll went a certain way, and my partner passed comment about it, the comment was irrelevant, and wrong, but was made to deliberately belittle what I had done. It was there in black and white what happened but they couldn’t except those particular happenings and so spun it in their favour.
I was mad, real mad, mad enough to break etiquette and ask him to go again and not be so nice the second time round. I didn’t and I’m glad, it would have been childish and out of character. But I was pissed all the way home, the roll didn’t lie, but they lied about the roll, and that felt deeply wrong. But as I’m writing this, I’m can’t figure out why that mattered so much to me. They weren’t lying to me, they were lying to themselves, why the fuck should I care about that? This was a slight against a single performance, that no one else in all the world would give a donkey’s bollox about besides the two grapplers involved in it, but my ego wouldn’t let that go.
If someone had been rolling with me right then, they would have felt how arrogant I was being. And that’s not cool or healthy. Nobody really wins in the game of life, we’re all gonna die anyway, maybe that’s why we have a tendency to try and hoard all the victories we can before the reaper resets the scoreboard as he fucks us into the abyss. It’s better to just enjoy process, stop keeping score and start actually playing. When you do that it doesn’t matter who wins, because you’re having too much fun. I think that’s a better attitude to take into my first day tomorrow: I ain’t trying to win anything, I’m just gonna try and be better than I was yesterday and I’m going to have as much fun as possible while I do it. Flow with go, that’s the only way to roll.