Jiu Jitsu for everyone
We all have a hobby or two. If you’re passionate about yours I respect it and would be open to trying it, as long as it doesn’t have to do with jumping out of airplanes or being in close proximity with sharks (yes sharks are an undiagnosed phobia lol). For me Jiu Jitsu is not just a hobby, but I recommend trying it to most everyone I meet. Understandably it’s usually met with hesitations. It’s obvious to me why Jiu Jitsu might be a hard pass for some. It looks confusing and probably raises some valid questions and concerns… “Why are they rolling around? Will I get hurt? Am I in good enough shape? Am I too young/old?”. These reasons stop many people from overcoming the first and hardest challenge which is simply showing up for the first lesson. If you’re reading this, Jiu Jitsu is for you and I’ll explain why.
Well for one, it’s fun! Especially when you get the hang of it. My parents are both 67 years old and started one (Mom) and three (Dad) years ago. You can guess that my Mom decided to join after seeing how much fun Dad was having. Obviously they’re not having wars in the gym every day. They’re learning the art, they occasionally spar with people who have a high enough level of control to not hurt them, and most important they enjoy it and have fun. The reason most people don’t start or end up quitting often has to do with a lack of understanding. They don’t see Jiu Jitsu as a lifestyle of learning to protect yourself while developing yourself physically and mentally every day. The way you start Jiu Jitsu is so important, if you are getting hurt as a beginner, stop and don’t go back to that school. There is a way of doing things with virtually zero risk. I know a student that went to a local school, sparred on his first day and broke his ankle!! What!? Imagine the courage it took for this business professional to come back and sign up with us after that experience.
It’s a great way to learn the basics of defending yourself. Everyone should learn some form of self defense even if they never use it. There are countless benefits in terms of building confidence or even mental/physical strength. The beauty of training is that there is no punching. Jiu jitsu is about control. You can be physically inferior to someone and learn how to control them with leverage and technique if you are willing to put in the time and get smashed a little bit (we all had to, everything of value has a price). This can be learned without you having to take head trauma or go through hellish training . Simply show up, put your gi on, train hard, have respect for your teammates and don’t stop. The right teacher and group of people will help you reach your next belt. If you aren’t having a good experience, don’t give up on jiu jitsu. Maybe it’s the school you’re at.
As humans we all have a fundamental need to be respected. Jiu Jitsu offers that. no matter who you are, short, tall, fat, skinny, beautiful, ugly, black, white. You will earn respect from your sensei, your teammates and most importantly yourself through your efforts. As an instructor I have witnessed a complete turnaround from timid young kids or adults that turned into absolute beasts who show up beaming with confidence excited to unleash their inner demons with another student ready to exchange some “violent hugs” as Rafael Lovato Jr likes to call it. Training can be very hard for some people, it depends on your goal but you will be respected for showing up and training even if your goal isn’t to become world champion.
My best and closest relationships to this day have been forged through the bond of blood, sweat, tears and violent hugs with my Jiu Jitsu family. Through Jiu Jitsu you will learn what a person is about. Are they kind, are they hard working, are they honest with themselves, does their will crumble? You will get those answers on the mat without having to say a single word. Aren’t you closest to the people you fight with the most? In Daniel Coyle’s book Culture Code he used Navy Seals as an example of how the strength of their bond can only be developed through suffering together. Without mutual suffering you never know how much the other is willing to sacrifice. How else do you learn that the skinny quiet guy will fight to his last breath versus the muscle bound guy who quits as soon as things don’t go his way. Who do you want on your team?
It’s good for some to know how easy it is for them to get their ass kicked, best of all in a way that will not result in death or your face being permanently mangled. It’s called “the gentle” art because there can be beautiful flow, efficiency, grace in all the movements. But even without the striking aspect you can put someone through literal physical hell if you wanted to without having to break your wrist from plowing it their jaw. Through Jiu Jitsu you will learn respect in a real, raw way. You learn that no matter how badass you are, there’s someone out there who can dismantle you. Easily. Hopefully this paragraph doesn’t discourage you from starting Jiu Jitsu. Jiu Jitsu can have a dark side but that’s what makes it real and effective!