What is The Gentle Artist

Andrew Raynor

There was one change on this blog that I never addressed but always planned to address.  That is the rebranding of the blog to The Gentle Artist.

Originally, I started this blog both as a means to express a creative outlet, document my journey, share helpful things, and as well to support efforts for the academy I train at.

I wanted to start writing immediately.

To the extent that I have self-awareness about the weaknesses that come with my personality type, I knew I just had to start asap.  One of those weaknesses is that due to my desire to “do things right”, it can take me a long time to finish projects.  I unnecessarily obsess over minute details that, ultimately, don’t make a huge difference.  You know, the law of limited returns and what not.  This is something that perfectionists precisionists anal-retentive people are usually unable unwilling to see about themselves.  We justify lack of productivity with gettings jussssssst right.

At least, that’s the narrative that plays out in our minds.

Anyway…

I found the first available URL that I could think of BJJ Grappling . com and just got started.  Looking back, it was a good decision.  It was YEARS before I thought about the name “The Gentle Artist” as a brand name for the blog.

Sure, it hit all the marks I wanted to hit.  And I love the name, but it took me YEARS to get there.

That’s a ton of traffic and value that could have been otherwise lost.

A shit ton.

So, why “The Gentle Artist”?

I want to make this absolutely clear – I am in no way, shape, or means alluding to myself as The Gentle Artist.

Rather, I am referring to us as The Gentle Artists.

On the surface, sure, it is a call that Jiu-Jitsu, by definition, is The Gentle Art.

But, wait, there’s more! *cue infomercial music*

To me, it’s also a call to Bushido, a call to the manner in which we ought to conduct ourselves, a call to how we should practice the art, a call to how we should treat our training partners, a call to how we should treat our opponents (if you compete), a call to how we should treat our friends, a call to how we should treat our family, a call to how we should treat those that we don’t call friends, and, even, a call to how we should treat people we genuinely dislike. It is my belief that we can, and should, be kind even to those who we harbor disaffection for.  Easy to write, much harder to apply.

For some, including especially me, this is not easy.  But, it is worth minding my behavior to reap the reward of feeling like a decent human at the end of the day.

There is a lot of beauty in these ideals and principles.  I regret that “western culture” seems to be at odds with this train of thought.  I am not a fan of the influence that celebrities like the Kardashians, Kayne, Connor McGreggor, etc. have on pop culture.

In my opinion, they are the vanguard that appeals to some of the lowest qualities that humanity has to offer.  Of course, that’s not to say that these people are not very hardworking, industrious, and carry plenty of good qualities too.  But, anecdotally speaking, these people are typically admired for the more gregarious and outlandish parts of their behavior.  I think this is ultimately detrimental to pop culture and devoid of virtue.

Entertaining as it may be, we can do better.

I’d like to realign the posture of this blog and my efforts on and off the mat to the eight Bushido virtues:

  1. Justice
  2. Courage
  3. Mercy
  4. Politeness
  5. Sincerity
  6. Honor
  7. Loyalty
  8. Temperance

I hope the name The Gentle Artist is a step closer to the endeavor.

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Andrew Raynor

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