The oceans of the world have depths that are seemingly unfathomable. The oceans flow in many different directions but are all still part of the same whole. The ocean peaks and crashes, has destructive storms and strong currents. At times the ocean is calm quiet and calm and other times it is tumultuous. The ocean fills horizons and can encompass all perceptions.

Before the oceans there were empty basins and once the Earth cooled, gas condensed into rain and began to fills those basins. Then over the course of ~3.8 Billion years, the oceans took form. Rain continuously fell over this time to fill those basins. When compared to the ocean, what is a droplet of rain?

I recently competed in another Jiu-Jitsu competition and this time I did not do as well as I would have liked to. I lost both of my matches. After my final loss, I was filled with disappointment. I have been working so hard and so much to improve my skill set that it was a major let down to find myself making mistakes and not performing as well as I think that I should have performed. In competition there are always going to be winners and losers and on that day I was one of the losers. So what does this really mean?

When I think about my journey in Martial Arts as a whole I can compare it to that of the empty basins of a primitive Earth or on a smaller scale let’s just say that my journey is a 5-gallon bucket. Being a beginner means that my bucket is mostly empty. Each day that I show up to class to train, I am able to add more to that bucket. Learning Jiu-Jitsu is a long, slow and arduous journey. It is demoralizing and challenging. It is very unrelenting and will knock you down over and over again with each experience. Think of every experience like one droplet of rain falling into that bucket. Every private lesson, class, training session, competition etc are all water droplets and each droplet is added to the bucket one at a time.

Each one of the Jiu-Jitsu competitions that I have competed in thus far have each been just rain droplets falling into my bucket. Whether it was a win or a loss, each one added something to the bucket. If my bucket is empty then one of those rain droplets seems like a lot though over time as more water accumulates, that rain droplet holds less of a value by itself because it because part of the whole. Like the analogy used above what value is one droplet by itself? Through taking time to reflect, this past competition and all the competitions that I have done are just singular experiences, like rain droplets, that are being added to my bucket one at a time.

So in the grand scheme of things, how much value does a rain droplet hold in comparison to a glass of water? A bucket of water? A river? The oceans? By itself, the rain droplet is here and quickly gone though when added together with other droplets the molecules accumulate more and more and the mass of water (experience) grows bigger and bigger. One experience is added to and absorbed by the whole and does not define the collective but always adds to it.

Some people hold competitions in such a high regard and others do not care as much. Competitions are opportunities to fight at a different speed and level of intensity that one would normally not experience in the dojo on a regular basis. Each competition that is competed in adds to the experience of the athlete. Win or lose that competition is another droplet of rain added to the bucket of the journey. Combat sports are hard and grueling and require so much time and effort to be put in training. Sometimes you can have a great training camp leading into a competition and still lose. It happens.

Whether you win or lose in competition, that singular event does not define your journey as a whole. It is one singular experience. Skill takes a long time to acquire. Skill isn’t gained over night and requires constant and consistent dedication to improving that skill. It takes everything to get better. When we first step foot onto the mats, we think that we are filling a bucket and that there is a limit until we soon realize that we are filling in a basin for an ocean, an ocean that is limitless in depth of knowledge and experience. Like the way that the oceans were formed, we fill it in with one rain droplet at a time.