Created by David Shore and played by Hugh Laurie, the doctor Gregory House has become one of the most popular TV characters of the last eight years, thanks to the television show that came to a close last Thursday.
Between one mysterious case and another, House would inject high doses of sarcasm, (tasteless) humor and painful anguish into viewers’ daily lives. Suffering severe injuries and extreme sentiments, the grouchy and drugged doctor basically used as a crutch two human laws: 1) Everyone lies. 2) Nobody ever changes, or only changes when they die.
Now had he been introduced to Jiu-Jitsu, would the fictitious doctor overhaul the way he sees the world? We think so, for at least four different reasons:
1. YES, PEOPLE CHANGE
Over eight seasons, the House television program sought to explore through poignant humor all the defects—and what defects—of the human race as a whole. A lack of goals, little determination, selfishness, betrayal—and not even a brush with death ever made anyone any better. Up to that point, it’s all pretty close to reality. Everyone knows how hard it is to change one’s routine and diet after years of habit. Hence, abandoning one’s bad habits requires a revolution in the way one thinks. It takes adopting a lifestyle and seeing life in a radically different light, but it is both viable and enchanting. Jiu-Jitsu practitioners learn this the moment they fall in love with the art. Ask the formerly chubby Junior Cigano. Ask the formerly slothful Daniel Sarafian, a star of the TUF Brazil cast. Yes, people do change. And in a gi it becomes all the easier to do so.
2. WHAT COUNTS IS THE ENIGMA
In the show-ending episode, Doctor House finally realized he lived an empty existence want of love, goals or meaning, one where his only motivation to get up the next day was to solve the next medical enigma. The patient’s life mattered, of course, but deep down all he wanted was to solve a puzzle and mentally win the game. House would have liked Jiu-Jitsu. With each enigma solved in our human chess, you wake up all the more fired up for the next day’s training. The thing that sets House apart from us practitioners, however, is that the doctor would only receive in return personal satisfaction, something selfish. In solving the enigmas of the mat, you gain health, self-confidence to improve the world around you, and lots of friendships.
3. THERE’S A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE DON’T LIE
House would say that people always lie and will lie, even if their health is at stake. There is one place where no one lies, though. If someone’s in a hurry, he’ll be in a hurry. If he’s persistent, he’ll be persistent. If he’s arrogant, he’ll be arrogant. And that place is the dojo. Whether getting put through the wringer or in victory, there, on the mat, everyone shows their colors. House would have liked to see the truth revealed, at least in the academy.
4. MEDICINE DOESN’T COME DOWN TO JUST DRUGS AND CHEMICALS
If he’d ever had contact with the ideas of Grandmaster Carlos Gracie, Gregory House would have finally understood, in theory and especially in practice, that practicing medicine isn’t just about prescribing medication. As the wise Greeks knew so well, medical practice is all about prevention, through healthy eating, a minimum 30 minutes of daily exercise, proper sleep and good habits. It’s not lupus, Dr. House; it could just be a lack of watermelon and acai on the menu.