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Do you Game? Have you ever lost hours playing a video game? From desk tops, consoles, mobile gaming, Tetris, Candy Crush to Call of Duty nothing is more complex than Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. If you can stick with the metaphor there are some key learnings that we can take from the world of gaming that can help us better understand BJJ and how to level up by being playful.

Training Mode: White Belt

The ‘Training Mode’ component of any complex game is essential for you to be able understand how to navigate the new world you have just entered. Spending time running around in training mode is good but this is not the game. The sooner you can learn the basic controls the sooner you can really start to play. Unfortunately when you play the BJJ game it’s a lot of trial and error because it is filled with Blue, purple and Brown belt bosses that will destroy you when you haven’t even worked out how to fight back.

BJJ requires such a high degree of determination & dedication just to get out of Training Mode (White Belt) that most people quit and never get into the real game.( Blue Belt)

The Real Game: Blue Belt – Brown Belt

You are a fresh Blue Belt and you know the BJJ Game is brutal but want to play all the same. Problem is you are on level 1 and the Game is set to Expert Level! Everything can kill or injure you even a simple BJJ warm up done incorrectly can redirect you to the annoying rehab level.

The Game is infinite: You can spend hours exploring just 1 Guard position and realise that is only a small island on a planet of techniques and positions. You can train up and Compete in tournaments against other players about your level. The experience points gained will level you up.

Exploring the massive landscapes of BJJ Knowledge can reveal hidden treasures that can give you secret Jiu-jitsu powers, you can then use on your adventures. There is no single way to “WIN” the Game of BJJ but you can improve your skills/ powers if you play regularly with the intent to level up.That said there is so much fun to be had just connecting with your friends through the Game, problem solving, doing side missions and building purely for fun.

Seeing The Matrix: Black Belt

Some players will get to the top of the mountain quicker, while others will never get there. Once you reach the top and receive acknowledgement for the climb you will see all the countless mountains that stretch into the distance. This doesn’t diminish the effort made but gives you the knowledge that this is only a step in the process of playing the infinite BJJ Game.

You are have become like Keanu Reeves character Neo in the first Matrix movie when he truly understands what the ‘Matrix’ is. He sees through the illusion. This then gives him the power to shape his reality. Achieving a Black Belt in the BJJ Game gives you new powers of vision, you can see through the illusion. The Game is no less hard you just understand it better so you can make better decisions.

The side effects of the Game can be both positive in the long term and potentially negative in the short term. It can create obsession and mental loops that have people so caught up in the Game that they don’t pay attention to their “Real” life.

The benefit of Playing the BJJ Game is it is a form of enforced mindfulness, like a physically rough meditation in that moment of being choked you can think of nothing else which leaves a residue of calm contentment when it’s over. The bond you make with other players in the game is like no other you share in other parts of your life.