Tap in sparring of creativity… and stand up again

In a previous post, I wrote: the most important and first thing you should learn in BJJ is to tap before you get hurt. When I reflect on lessons I learned through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I tend to find these lessons applicable to life in general. Tapping is one of such lessons.

Let’s say you are sparring with someone. Your opponent takes a better position and dominates you. Perhaps your opponent is more skilled. Or perhaps your opponent is bigger than you. But let’s face it: you are now caught and stuck. You get desperate and end up making a mistake. You literally give your arm away. Your opponent takes it and goes for an armlock. Here, you can and should tap before you get injured. By tapping your opponent with the other hand, you let him or her know that you accept your defeat. It’s only a spar after all. There is no reason why you should resist that armlock attempt and get your arm broken eventually.

There is nothing embarrassing about accepting your defeat. Your opponent may be much smaller than you and you may be supposed to be much stronger than you. But no one cares about it if you don’t. Good news is that with your arm safe and sound, you can train more. You’ll know what to watch out for as well. If you learn how to avoid that same move, you’ll survive. You might get caught by another move, but that’s OK. Tap first , start over again and learn how to avoid that move. That’s how you get better. If you refuse to tap for some reason and you break your arm, you won’t be able to train until it recovers. That sucks.

Now I’m up to Week 6 of the Artist’s Way. I can sense that this book has been influencing me little by little. Surprise: like every other area, I can relate the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu way of thinking to creativity. If I think about what I was like when I started walking away from the path of creativity, it is as if I was that guy who didn’t realize tapping was one of the most important parts of the game. There’s nothing wrong with tapping. Just start over and try again. In terms of creative works, you might feel your writing, drawing or dancing is nothing like your favorite artist’s works, but that’s perfectly OK. Just start over and try again. One of the reasons I ended up walking away from the path of creativity is probably because I didn’t tap?I couldn’t accept the fact that I was a beginner and eventually got my creative arm broken. But now I know tapping is important and not a big deal at the same time.

I bet what you want is the process of bringing that piece of work into existence rather than that piece itself. Suppose some magical being appears and tells you that he could give you the master pieces of yours that you are to make in the future. So, the deal is that you could have your master pieces without actually working on them. Would you take them?

I wouldn’t. I want to enjoy the journey of creating my master pieces. This time, I’ll tap as many times as necessary and say, “Thanks, and let’s do it again”.