Erik Paulson, Negative Energy, and Rolling

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.

Once upon a time he was also a boxer, and believe it or not, a stunt double on Baywatch.

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.


About Dave

Grad student in Ecology, Blue belt in jiu jitsu.
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5 Responses to Erik Paulson, Negative Energy, and Rolling

  1. David says:

    Really fine post, Dave. I try not to be finicky with how others indulge belief or how important they make it in their life (even though I find some of the more overt expressions of belief in our society to be officious). The larger point that I find absolutely correct is that some partners will be better for certain training activities than others. In an MMA class, there will guys that can’t be trusted to moderate their fight for sparring purposes. In BJJ, there are the pull-happy meats that just can’t help reafing on a kimura (knowing you protect your shoulders because you also happen to enjoy surfing) even after you’ve tapped. Unfortunately, there’s also the other side of the coin that you can settle into patterns that prevent growth if you always roll with the same, safe set of partners. Bottom line, no school mate should be stranger enough that you can’t tell them what you want to work, and what you want to protect. Without the communications bit, almost anyone could be said to have “negative” energy. Because this is after all, about fighting in one form or other.

  2. Sean says:

    Sensing other peoples energies has nothing to do with religious beliefs. The way he chooses to handle them might be. When these wacky things happen to people you don’t know what is happening because science is not at that level yet. So you have to hit up the book store or library and hope to hit the lottery or go to the orthodox religions. They have only recently proven in a lab that you can feel people staring at you. Spiritual stuff you test on yourself. Of course it doesn’t really matter what anyone says, you can always come up with a more rational sounding explanation for the unknown

  3. Tim says:

    Great read.

  4. Erik Paulson says:

    I have no problem rolling with everyone! I am not a judge with what people choose to do in their personal life! Rolling with loads of people definitely will make you adapt your game to all under all circumstances! I believe that drilling technique, situations, and combinations are a must! The ability to free-roll with loads of people will challenge your skills. This is a Must, aside from competition, will get you better! If I happen to Roll with someone with a Negative attitude, I try to work with them, help them, or crush them! At the end…learn from everybody. I am a Knowledge seeker as so should everyone be!!! After I’m done…I like to sit and talk a little with everyone about life, theories, and techniques. Then, I go shower and scrub my body with salt and soap
    to get everyones germs and energy off of me! This is normal…to get clean after training. When you are done rolling you have both energy and other’s sweat all over you. In the past, I used to go eat and then sometimes just pass-out from my work-out. Everyone has done this, they went home, ate, then forgot to shower and fell asleep on the couch watching TV…Right guys!?
    What I was stating was that this is how you feel others negative energy. It attaches to you the
    same as germs do! When you dive into another’s etheric body…energy can transfer to you…
    and vice versa! Some people have negative attachments…and others are lighter. This is how this happens. Some people are more energy sensitive than others! Does this make me Bizarre
    or just more aware than some ? Massage Therapists some time choose not to work on people
    because of their disposition the same as a Bartender chooses not to serve someone Rude.
    This is a personal choice to “not subject” themselves to a negative demeanor! So, by me stating this, makes me different…or just be selective with whom i want to trade energy with!? In a competition or a fight it doesn’t matter who your opponent is because you are there to fight and conquer and impose your will! When training in Peace to learn and experiment your skills and new techniques, both tough adversaries and others in your “mind like” are important for your betterment! Cooperative, compassionate, and competitive ! The three C’s!
    Overall awareness with another’s intention or disposition helps you decide how hard to go and what you are up against. This just lets you decide if your working or just going for it! Both are crucial to get good! All that I was stating that if you are rolling with a super-negative person,
    Beware…either go for it…or, avoid it! We all have free will, it’s your choice! The same as the Company that you keep! You are who you surround yourself with! I believe that Like attracts Like! Martial Arts is a vehicle to better ourselves. The competition attitude is to overcome
    all adversaries. In the end of the day… “What’s your true intentions”!? To “Sweat in Peace or Bleed in War”?
    Erik Paulson

  5. N. Singh says:

    Every massage therapist eventually learns this either by someone else or through experience.
    No, scientific research that shows? Well…that has to do with lack of research being done as well. Forget “physical energy around the body” ask anyone who works as a counsellor or therapist, you would not “believe” that people can mask emotions or be socio-paths if you weren’t educated about such things. How much “physical” experience do we have in our day to day lives? I’m guessing much less than someone who teaches grappling for a living. If you still are stuggle with this…look into repetitive stress injuries, the research on their cause, prevention and treatment takes many years AFTER they have been identified. Hard to study something when there is no research even to see if it exists…people just start by saying “if this is real we would know it already.”

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