Erik Paulson is a martial arts legend. MMA superstars such as Josh Barnett, Brock Lesnar, and Sean Sherk rave about his encyclopedic knowledge of every aspect of the fight game. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and a full instructor of Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, and Filipino Martial Arts.
And he also believes some pretty bizarre stuff.
According to Erik Paulson, we should all be very selective with whom we choose to train in case our partners’ negative energy latches onto us. In the most recent episode of Rolled Up with Budo Jake (this part of the interview begins at 29:22), Erik Paulson explains :
I used to roll with people all the time, and I’m very sensitive to energy, and a lot of times I’d go home and I’d have nightmares. … Like bad nightmares, like monsters and stuff like that. … I have a few people that I talk to, they did a scan on me through archangels, and they’re like “your job is bringing negative energy home with you.”
He goes on to explain:
A lot of times when you roll with somebody you pull the energy off of them because you’re dipping into their etheric layer which is their protective layer, and some people are negative. Some people don’t believe in God, they never pray, they party, they do a ton of stuff that’s not right. You attract negative energy, it latches on you, it sticks to you, and a lot of times you’re gonna roll with guys and pull stuff off them.
This is definitely one of the strangest beliefs I’ve heard regarding training. At first I thought he was joking, but he continues the interview to explain how to rid one’s self of this negative energy – namely, through showering, using Epsom salt, and through the liberal usage of the medicinal herb sage.
It almost goes without saying – obviously, there’s absolutely no scientific evidence that the human body is shrouded in magical energy auras, so we shouldn’t lose any sleep over worrying about negative energy clinging to us. And while I certainly can’t deny Paulson’s selectivity of training partners has gotten rid of his nightmares, we don’t have to reach out for supernatural explanations. There are very likely psychological benefits to training with only people you trust (in Paulson’s case, people that share his affinity for prayer), and the elaborate cleansing rituals he performs after training also probably put his mind at ease.
We can chalk this strange confession up to bizarre religious beliefs on Paulson’s part – he’s certainly a world class martial arts instructor, and maybe this one little weirdness is just an unfortunate part of the package. But regardless, I can’t help but wonder how some of his students feel. Personally, I might consider switching schools if my instructors refused to train with me because of my personal opinions about the existence of supernatural deities. There are certainly legitimate reasons for refusing to train with people – overly aggressive partners, inexperienced students who have a penchant for dangerous heel hooks, or personal injuries are all good reasons to avoid training. Wacky religious bigotry is not one of them.
The beautiful thing about jiu jitsu is that it brings people together from all different ethnicities and walks of life – students, business owners, blue collar workers, white collar workers, atheists, theists, democrats, republicans, seasoned fighters, and recreational enthusiasts are all placed on a level playing field. When we step out on the mats, our disagreements about political or religious opinions couldn’t be less relevant. We should realize that we’re all working towards the same goal – improving ourselves as martial artists – and leave all that “other stuff” out of it.