If every person in a community gives and gives, then everyone else in the community has much more to give to others. If, however, every person in a community takes, then nobody else in the community will have anything left.
I wanted to start this post by paraphrasing/cribbing a concept/quote from Seth Godin, a highly prolific author who has influenced me immensely. The purpose of using this sentiment is to illustrate the importance of how giving back and paying forward profoundly influences the growth and development of your community around you.
When I first started training jiu-jitsu, I never fathomed the possibility of teaching full-time as a way to make a living. It was not until a few months into my blue belt when the opportunity came up for me to start teaching and helping out with the kids class. At first, my instructor didn’t pay me and my tuition was not reimbursed. I did it for the love of the art and because it was an opportunity to not only improve my skill-set as a jiu-jitsu practitioner but also to share my knowledge with those around me.
Very early on in my journey as a jiu-jitsu practitioner, I undertook the responsibilities of serving others without fully understanding its importance. I taught kids classes one hour per week and helped out with an adults fundamentals class. Before I knew it, I was teaching three fundamentals classes, one kids class and two hours of NoGi every single week. I never got paid for it. It was still a labor of love and my payment was my progress, development and service to my jiu-jitsu community. It was not until a year later that my tuition was finally cleared and I was teaching classes in exchange for not paying monthly dues.
Service in Jiu-jitsu
Service is perhaps one of the most underrated qualities among jiu-jitsu practitioners. Most people believe that since one pays tuition for the privilege to train at an academy, there is nothing more to give. Paying tuition somehow absolves everyone from reinvesting in their school, helping with cleaning duties, volunteering to teach classes or even creating new classes of their own on the schedule. I was very lucky to have been put in a position where I did not get paid to do more than most people get paid for less. It taught me the true value of serving others and loving jiu-jitsu above and beyond a transactional experience. Jiu-jitsu is more than a transaction to me. It is my life.
Lately, I have been searching for ways to be of more service. I have been wanting to do more for communities that extend further than my own. I have been toying with the idea of turning this blog into one big charitable endeavor that allows me to give when even I, myself, have little. The more I progress and develop, I realize that jiu-jitsu is my vehicle for something greater. I will soon find it and do my best to bring all of my aspirations to fruition.
Give, Give and Give some more
As a jiu-jitsu practitioner, you have plenty to give. You have your time. You have the ability to help those around you and offer your services to your school. You always have the opportunity to share your knowledge with others and better them. You have finances that go above and beyond simply paying your dues, like supporting your instructors with private lessons.
There are many ways to give to your community and you will find that the more you give, the more everyone else has to return.