Menu Close

“Here be dragons”

Old World cartographers would often write “HC SVNT DRACONES” (here be dragons) on their maps to warn sailors of dangerous sea monsters lurking in the depths.  While the likelihood there being sea-monsters is slim, it is much more plausible that these cartographers were marking the unknown, warning sailors not to venture into unexplored territory. There are dragons everywhere in Jiu Jitsu.  In this post we will discuss the different types and the importance of slaying them.

BJJ Roxbury NJ
Old World Map

Nobody likes being the new kid.  Not only do dragons represent the unknown but they are also tied to our egos.  When I first began training Jiu Jitsu, it took me months of self doubt before I took my first class.  The dragon within me told me that before I could start I needed to get in shape first.  The dragon told me that even though I loved martial arts, I couldn’t afford it.  After months of running away from it, I finally faced my dragon and took my first Jiu Jitsu class.  Just like that, I slayed my dragon.

In Greek Mythology the hydra is a dragon that when decapitated, two heads grew in its place.  Even though I conquered the unknown by coming to my first class, more dragons took its place.  As I progressed I based my achievement on how many people I submitted and judged my worth on how many times I “got tapped.”  This dragon dug its claws deeply into my ego.  I was locked into how my teammates viewed me, and I was concerned that if they saw me tap they would look down on me.  Every time I sparred I did the five things I was good at hoping to win.  I never worked on my weaknesses.  One day I noticed I was a purple belt with a white belt guard.  I decided to only play guard in order to balance out my game.  For six months my guard would get passed and I would get submitted.  “They are all laughing at you…they don’t respect you” the dragon whispered in my ear.  Again, instead of running away I slowly worked to confront my fears and something clicked.  My guard slowly began to get better.  My dragon disappeared.

Gaelforce Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Roxbury NJ
St. George and the Dragon

Now as I open this school a new dragon is born whispering in my ear daily.  Even though I am filled with fear and tempted to ignore it and let it go, there is one thing that gives me comfort.  Once you confront the unknown and face your fears, it becomes easier to slay any other dragons that form to take the place of the one you just conquered.  Dragons are all around us.  They prevent us from asking for a raise.  They prevent us from starting relationships.  Don’t run from the unknown, run toward it.


-Alex Kennedy

Gaelforce Jiu Jitsu

Roxbury NJ