Let's Tap Cancer Out
With Blind Ambition™
You may be aware that I’ve been training for almost 1.5 years in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)–also commonly referred to as grappling, and I’ve decided to compete in my first tournament. But I’m not fighting for me, I’m fighting for cancer patients who are in the fight for their lives. On May 20, I’ll take the mat and compete in Atlanta’s Tap Cancer Out BJJ Open.
In a world full of uncertainties, the unknown is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be scary or anxiety inducing…if you change your mindset. BJJ teaches us how to embrace fear. Make no mistake about it, the first several times someone puts you in an “inescapable” choke hold, it’s terrifying. Fear takes over, adrenaline spikes, and it’s hard to think clearly. Our natural fight or flight instincts kick in and we’re flooded with panic.
But an interesting thing happens: The more we train, the less we’re overwhelmed by fear. The more we move towards that fear, experience the unknown, and settle into the terror, the calmer we become in the face of fear, and a funny thing happens: We learn how to bring our heart rate down, think more clearly, and start looking for a way out. And oddly enough, it’s not uncommon to find that the “inescapable” choke hold actually has holes in it—we can often work our way out of the situation, if we’re able to maintain our composure and clarity. And although this skill of settling into the terror is crucial for BJJ, it’s profoundly useful in life.
Whether we’re in a physical fight, dealing with a scary personal issue, or stressful work problem, what if we could instinctively bring our heart rate down and start calmly looking for a way out? And when you regularly move towards discomfort, you’ll notice your comfort zone expanding, because you are expanding your edges, and that’s where growth takes place.
There’s something magical about stepping into uncharted territory. It’s where we discover our true potential and unlock the secrets to growth and success. But, as you might know, the fear of the unknown can sometimes hold us back. Today, I want to share with you some insights that have helped me face the unknown with courage and resilience. But first, let me tell you a little about Tap Cancer Out and how you can help people fighting cancer.
About Tap Cancer Out
Tap Cancer Out is a Jiu-Jitsu based 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides critical funding to cancer-fighting beneficiary organizations on behalf of the grappling community. They do this primarily through hosting the most philanthropic fundraising tournaments in the world, but also through direct donations and merchandise sales. Since 2011, they’ve hosted dozens of tournaments and have donated more than $4.7 million to their beneficiaries.
We’ve all been affected in some way by this relentless disease. But there are people out there that are dedicating their lives to finding a cure, and they need your support.
At Tap Cancer Out, it has been their belief since day one that the jiu-jitsu community can come together to support these organizations, hospitals, doctors, researchers and volunteers who won’t quit until they’ve forced cancer to tap out.
So, yes, I’m taking part in the Tap Cancer Out BJJ Open and along with my teammates and competitors, I’ll be fighting for those who are in the fight of their lives. Join us by supporting me, my team and Tap Cancer Out.
So, How Does a Blind Guy Train and Compete in BJJ?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t answer an obvious question—so, how does a blind guy actually train and compete in BJJ? Thankfully, BJJ is all hands-on—there’s no striking in BJJ, which is a good thing. If it did, I’d simply end up being someone’s punching bag!
Thanks to the nature of the martial art, and my incredible professor—Professor Humberto (“Beto”) Borges (Borges BJJ), who teaches me, the Marietta Police Department, and the Atlanta community the powerful and amazing art of BJJ—I’m able to fully participate in learning, training, and competition. Professor Borges has taken careful measures to ensure I’m able to understand the techniques being taught. During each class, professor Borges has someone—either him, or an advanced BJJ practitioner—apply the technique being taught to me, so I can follow along. While the class is watching the new technique with their eyes, I’m experiencing the technique with my body as it’s being applied to me.
BJJ is so practical and effective that the Marietta Police Department has made it mandatory for all recruits, and I’m thrilled that Professor Borges has made it accessible to me. For years I’d craved some activity, some sport to share with my children, and now we have that with BJJ. Although I can’t show my kids how to shoot a jump shot, I can show them how to perform BJJ moves, defend themselves, and in the process, we have a shared love, a shared bond in this beautiful “gentle art.”
Pursue Your Success with Blind Ambition
So, how can you cultivate a mindset, behavior,and habit of growth through adversity?
1. Embrace the uncertainty
Accepting that the future is uncertain is the first step towards conquering the fear of the unknown. It’s important to remember that uncertainty is a part of life, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be the catalyst for personal and professional growth. Besides, who wants to live a life where every day, every outcome is known in advance. Isn’t that part of the adventure of life?
2. Focus on what you can control
When faced with the unknown, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the things that are beyond our control. Instead, shift your focus to the things you can control—your attitude, your actions, and your responses. By concentrating on these aspects, you’ll build confidence and feel more prepared to tackle any challenge that comes your way.
3. Build a support network
Surround yourself with people who inspire and encourage you. They can provide valuable advice, share their experiences, and help you maintain a positive mindset. Remember, you don’t have to face the unknown alone–a strong support network can be your safety net and source of strength.
4. Develop a growth mindset
Cultivating a growth mindset means embracing challenges as opportunities for learning and development. When you view the unknown as a chance to grow, you’ll be more open to taking risks, exploring new avenues, and pushing your limits.
5. Take calculated but incremental risks
Taking risks is an integral part of facing the unknown. But that doesn’t mean you should act recklessly. Start off with risk that reflects how far outside your comfort zone you’re moving, and ensure the consequences aren’t too great. For example, I didn’t start off skiing on a black diamond slope. Instead, I started off on bunny slopes and/or green runs. Evaluate the potential outcomes, weigh the pros and cons, and trust your instincts. But by taking calculated risks, you’ll increase your chances of success while minimizing potential setbacks.
6. Celebrate your victories
When you achieve a goal or overcome a challenge, take the time to celebrate your success. Acknowledging your accomplishments will boost your confidence and motivate you to continue facing the unknown with bravery.
By embracing uncertainty, focusing on what we can control, and surrounding ourselves with supportive people, we can face the unknown bravely and create a fulfilling and successful future.
Together, let’s explore new horizons, conquer our fears, and reach our fullest potential. As a certified coach, I can help you navigate through uncertain times. Learn more about Integral Coaching with me.
WHAT IS INTEGRAL COACHING?
You may also be interested in reading “How to Conquer Your Fears.”
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” — Helen Keller
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