Martial arts is a mental, emotional and physical practice. The inner mind creates the outer experience. Imagine your inner space, your mind as a sort of secret garden. Whatever you plant in your secret garden will become your outer experience. If you plant seeds of doubt, anger, resentment… then your garden will become tangled with these weeds. But if you surround yourself with positive, inspirational, life affirming people, thoughts and experiences then your garden will reflect something beautiful. One of the greatest benefits of martial arts is the healthy relationship you build both with yourself and those around you. When you walk into a martial arts school everyone is equal on the mats. We strip ourselves of our day to day personas and clothing and don our training uniform. We become something different…a martial artist. A linage of student and teacher that has deep history. Maybe in our normal life we are a doctor, dentist or plumber…. but on the mats we are all the same… we are students. People always tell me that the social aspect of training is what they appreciate the most. I have to say that I 100% agree. It’s why when classes are “over” we often sit on the mats and talk… sometimes for hours. Often the conversation even continues into the parking lot. The bond we share transcends beyond most relationships one would have pursuing a hobby. If you were taking a spinning class you probably wouldn’t sit and talk late into the night after class. Martial Arts and especially BJJ are different. When you share such close range, intimate moments on the mats its hard to not feel a bond. I’ve always felt the sign of a healthy martial arts school is the culture created within it’s four walls. Is it a culture of competition, fear, jealously? Or is it one of respect, fellowship and sharing. Remember martial arts starts on the mats but is practiced in our daily lives. From the thoughts we think to the actions we take are we acting as a martial artist? This is a great question to ask yourself throughout the day. How would a martial artist eat, think and act. Now go and train! See you on mats.