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There is no I in team

The very first time I stepped on a sports field I heard these words, ”there is no I in team”. In the Jiu-Jitsu world we hear about team and loyalty all the time, but what does that mean? In traditional sports like football and baseball the entire team must function as one unit. If there is a weak link it will be exposed in those sports. In Jiu-Jitsu you are standing there fighting one on one. It's really a solo sport in that moment, or is it.

In Jiu-Jitsu, I think the question needs to be what do I bring to the team. Am I helping my team mates, leading by example and pushing everyone to get better. When I win a competition is it all about me. It can’t be. I would not be where I am if my training partners did not push me.

What about loyalty to one gym or to your professor? As long as your professor is doing his or her job and training you properly there should be a loyalty built from respect. Respect must be earned and then reciprocated. I’m not talking about blind allegiance. I’m talking about respect based on actions.

The problem is that we live in a very me based society. The thought isn’t what can I do to help my team, but what can my team to to help me. And if my team is helping me I will go somewhere new. As a professor I am constantly teaching people how to beat me. In doing so they get better and I get better. Everyone wins. And when we compete I want to coach and celebrate their wins and encourage them in defeat. My hope is that we can somehow encourage all students to push themselves to their full potential and then to use their skills to help and to motivate others.

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