Rob Arnett gets his purple belt at IBJJA. A-Game BJJ

The Gauntlet – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu BJJ

Nick Hinton Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Regardless of what you call it, there’s no escaping the fact that walking the “Gauntlet” is a perfect example of intense physical suck. Three dozen of your closest friends gleefully covering you with bruises and welts….or potentially even worse if they have terrible aim? Yeah, that doesn’t exactly sound like a party for most people. This longtime tradition that has become a super-divisive topic more and more these days.

On one end of the spectrum, it’s viewed as a necessary ritual; a rite of passage, of sorts. On the other end, it’s brutish, barbaric, fraternistic hazing driven by peer pressure and testosterone. At my home gym, it’s a ritual that’s observed, but the participant is always given the choice to be hip-tossed onto a big, fluffy crash pad by their teammates and coaches instead of given the gift of bruises and welts, and possibly worse.

Rob Arnett before and after his purple belt promotion gauntlet run


Personally, I view it as a requirement for my personal growth. Not only that, but something I’m actually excited to go through…and no, not because I’m a masochist. For me, it’s a real, inescapable metaphor for the time I’ve spent on the mat and really just life itself. It’s a graduation-by-fire. It’s sticking your hand in the glove full of bullet ants.

The best lessons we’re ever taught in life are on the other side of pain and hopelessness; suffering is the truest teacher, because that’s where our metal is forged strongest. We can see ourselves on the other side of those trials, take stock in ourselves and look at what we’ve become, and exactly what we had to go through in order to become it. That’s why I’m walking the gauntlet; I relish in those moments of metaphor in life, just like the metaphor in Jiu-Jitsu itself. Jiu-Jitsu is Life.

Now, I’m not saying you should walk the gauntlet if it just really isn’t for you, but be respectful of the pain and discomfort you experience on the mat and in life. It’s the same principle as “bad position” sparring. Your weak points are easiest to manage when they’re slapping you in the face. Throw yourself into the fire. You won’t be disappointed when you come out shiny and new…and maybe a little black and blue.

PS- IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE WHIPPING YOUR TEAMMATES, WASH YOUR FILTHY BELT. YOUR JIU-JIU IS STRONGER THAN SOAP AND WATER, AND STAPH SUCKS. 

 

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