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Sam Harris on Jiu Jitsu (The Pleasure Of Drowning)

Sam Harris is one of the most popular public intellectuals out there today, has been on Joe Rogan Podcast 4-5 times, and has his own wildly popular podcast Making Sense with Sam Harris. He is an extremely rational individual and has way of being of speaking that is extremely clear, concise, and poignant. Like Tim Ferriss said, Sam Harris is one of the few individuals who can talk, write, and think in prose.

Sam Harris is also a fan of jiu jitsu (called The Pleasure Of Drowning), and last I heard he is a blue belt. Sam Harris spoke about his love once and someone made a video montage of it. And of course, he has a way of philosophizing about jiu jitsu that is just beautiful to hear. Anyway here is the video. Take a look.

Here are a few of the noteworthy quotes from the narration:

Training in BJJ offers a powerful lens through which to examine some primary human concerns: truth versus delusions, self-knowledge, ethics, and overcoming fear. So with jiu jitsu, you can really test to see whether something works. There is really no luck involved. You get on the mat with someone who is much better than you at jiu jitsu, is like playing someone who is much better at chess. You will lose---you will lose 100 percent of the time, and in ways that you will find astonishing.
I can now attest that the experience of grappling with an expert is akin to falling into deep water without knowing how to swim. You will make a furious effort to stay afloat and you will fail. Once you learn how to swim however, it becomes difficult to see what the problem is. 'Why can't a drowning man just relax and just thread water?' The same inscrutable difference between lethal ignorance and life-saving knowledge can be found on the mat. To train in BJJ is to continually drown---or rather to be drowned---in sudden and ingenious ways and to be taught again and again how to swim. Whether you're an expert in a striking-based art....or just naturally tough....a return to childlike humility awaits you. Simply step onto the mat with a BJJ black belt. There are a few experiences as startling as being effortlessly controlled by someone your size or smaller, and despite your full resistance, placed you in a choke hold or joint lock, or some other submission. A few minutes of this and whatever your previous training, your incompetence will become so glaring and intolerable that you will want to learn whatever this person has to teach.


A less than stellar martial artist