Scott Ford trains at the Clinch Academy in Frederick, MD, is the author of Financial Jiu-Jitsu: A Fighter’s Guide to Conquering Your Finances, and is the CEO of Cornerstone Wealth Management Group in Hagerstown, MD. 


I thought I knew a lot about dedication, commitment, and sacrifice. 

Then, when I was writing my book Financial Jiu-Jitsu, I talked to Renzo Gracie and realized commitment can sometimes be taken to an entirely different level.

“Kazushi Sakuraba caught me in a kimura lock,” Renzo told me.  “Twenty seconds to go in the match so I didn’t want to tap.” 

Plus,” he continued, “I had always wanted to find out if I could listen to a bone being broken and still not quit.”

He found out.  Sakuraba continued to apply pressure until Renzo’s elbow snapped and the referee stopped the fight.  (You can see it happen here.)

“I gained something more important than any victory,” Renzo said.  “I learned, once and for all, that my mind truly is stronger than my body.  Today, when things get tough, all I have to do is remember that if I can watch my arm get broken and still keep on fighting, I can do anything.  Our minds can be incredibly powerful tools if we let them.”

Renzo would have regretted tapping.  I wouldn’t have.  Like me, I’m sure you would choose to tap instead of face injury. 

We don’t regret tapping.  It’s the smart decision.  Losing is a fact of life in BJJ.  Every person who steps on the mat gets humbled.  The ability to accept losing with grace is a common trait among BJJ practitioners.  (People who can’t quickly leave the sport.) 

So we don’t regret tapping… that is, unless tapping is the result of a lack of dedication, commitment, and sacrifice.  Then we regret tapping because tapping hurts – not physically but mentally, because we know we haven’t put in enough effort.

That hurts. 

Forget physical pain for a moment and think about it. Mentally, there are two types of pain:  The pain of discipline and the pain of regret. 

Which weighs more?  Discipline weighs almost nothing.  Regret weighs a ton – and can last a lifetime.

Think about things in your life that you regret, both the things you did and the things you did not do.  While I’ve made mistakes, I don’t regret many of the things I’ve actually done.  I firmly believe that if my heart is in the right place everything eventually works out for the best.

Instead I regret the things I waited too long to do or never did.  For example, BJJ is a passion I know I’ll be involved with even when I need to be rolled onto the mat in a wheelchair, but I do wish I had gotten started sooner than I did. I regret the years I missed.

Looking back at the things we didn’t do is painful because we know we can never get back the time we lost.  That’s why we train.  That’s why we put blood and sweat and effort into our sport.  That’s why we make sacrifices based on dedication, commitment, and a hunger to improve, as fighters and as individuals.  We don’t want to waste time.  Time is too precious.  Regret is too painful.

Renzo didn’t teach me not to tap out, but he does serve as a great reminder that BJJ can help us in all aspects of our lives. 

BJJ teaches us to look at every angle, to be open to new ideas, to anticipate problems and seize opportunities.  On the mat, BJJ teaches us to do things the right way, that dedication, commitment, and sacrifice pay off. 

Those same principles can pay off in ever aspect of your life:  Education, family, finance, wealth… every aspect.

Often we hesitate, wait for the right moment, decide we need to think a little longer or wait until the time is right… and days, months, and years pass by.

When we let time pass by, we let our opportunities pass by, too.

Don’t let that happen.  Apply the same dedication and commitment to all aspects of your life that you put into BJJ. 

Why waste what you know?  Use your skills everywhere.