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Burdette BJJ Blog - Week 3

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Stripe 3 – Learn to tap

“There is no losing in jiu jitsu. You either win or you learn.” 

Carlos Gracie, Sr



The most important move you learn as a white belt is the tap. It can be a tap of the hand, the foot, or even a verbal tap – “TAP!!!” We’ve all been there starting out. The crazy thing about it, however, is that most white belts don’t tap or don’t want to tap. I’ve been that guy…and I have lasting aches and pain from those regrettable decisions. What many white belts don’t understand is that tapping is not a sign of weakness, as most think; rather tapping is the key to learning and longevity. Gary Tonon, a high-level black belt, and frequent competitor confessed recently that in a five round session he will get tapped around 15 times. Tapping is learning, and even black belts are still on the learning journey! You’ll hear that one of the keys to BJJ is being comfortable in uncomfortable situations; that’s such an important lesson to learn. If I’m able to defend myself, and even get tapped in a safe training session, I’m more likely to be able to defend and stay safe in a dangerous situation on the streets. Ultimately, the act of tapping equates to leaving your ego off the mats, and desiring to be the best training partner for your gym.


If tapping is learning on the mats, then tapping likens to asking for help in real life. We all need help at some point in our lives, yet just as many experience in Jiu Jitsu, ego gets in the way. The great author CS Lewis makes the point that we all struggle in this area at some point in our lives, “If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.”  It’s life; we want to look good in front of others, even when our world may be falling apart. The Bible speaks quite a bit about ego, but just uses another word for it: pride. Pride keeps us from tapping…on the mats, and in the real world. 1 Peter 5:5-6 says, “And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.” To drive the point home, God says in the book of Micah, What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Walking humbly before your God is tough, especially as men. We want to be the strongest, the toughest and the guy that never has to tap! Yet, life has a way of forcing the tap. 

The Christian walk is counterculture. In a society that promotes self, the Christian walk does exactly the opposite. Jesus states in Mark 8:34-35, If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” The world says live for yourself; Jesus says die to yourself. There’s no room for ego in our walks with Christ. It’s okay to tap; actually, it’s biblical to tap in the game of life. Asking for help is counterculture. Find someone you can reach out to when life is forcing the tap. Pray; share those thoughts and feelings with the Lord. 1 Peter 5:7 states, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 

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