Let me try to explain why jiu jitsu is so much fun.
Some people love games of strategy. Poker, chess, and Call of Duty are all hugely popular among a wide segment of society.
Other people love games of skill. Billiards, golf, and horse shoes are big.
Still others like more athletic endeavors. running, soccer, basketball, and cross fit are all big.
Then you have stylized sports like skiing, skateboarding and parkour.
All of these activities are cool and enrich life. They keep us both sane, healthy, and contribute to a well-rounded existence.
Socrates had a good quote about this:
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
I played a variety sports growing, but I never loved one as much as I love jiu jitsu. I think it may be because bjj has elements of all the aforementioned activities.
It’s strategic. Deeply strategic. There’s no substitute for knowledge and no limit to the intricacy of techniques. Things like where you put your foot, or if you make a grip with your palm up or your palm down, can make and ruin moves.
A well executed strategy can allow you to wreck guys twice your size.
Jiu jitsu’s complex techniques require hundreds of hours of repetition to achieve competency. It contains the same elements of fine tuning that are found in golf and billiards.
But good strategy and finesse are nearly impossible when you’re exhausted. Jiu jitsu demands a high level of conditioning and tolerance for discomfort.
And jiu jitsu has style.
Some sports can become stale to their participants. There’s only so many ways to swing a bat or shoot a jumper. There are no drastic changes to be made to a stride or a strike.
But jiu jitsu is still changing. New moves are constantly being discovered and refined The moves currently in existence are always being tweaked and refined.
BJJ has something for everyone to enjoy and therefore it attracts all kinds. Because of this, I’ve met many people whom I would otherwise never get the chance to interact with on a personal basis.
I’ve met athletes of all levels from dozens of different backgrounds. They’ve taught me to respect all sports because they’re all difficult in their own way.
For example, figure skating is not for pansies. Motocross racers are in tremendous shape. Body builders are humble, intelligent people with extreme focus and attention to detail.
I’ve met a lot of cops and attorneys. They’re just people with jobs like anybody else. They live private lives and have plenty of respect and courtesy. They’re often very interesting people with unique insights.
I’ve seen BJJ change people.
I’ve seen timid folks build confidence through direct confrontation on the mats and by pushing themselves further than what they thought they might be capable of achieving.
Likewise, I’ve seen people with big ego’s get humbled in a way that causes them to reevaluate themselves and others. Tapping out repeatedly leaves them no choice but to accept their incompetence. They can only commit to real improvement or quit. There are few excuses in such a raw contests.
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I’ve met a few pretenders too. But no matter what belt you have or who your coach is, there’s no faking skill on the mat.
There are also no fantasies or unexamined possibilities. No “what if’s?” Stuff either works or it doesn’t and any new idea can be immediately tested and judged.
I’ve rolled with people with mental handicaps and physical disabilities. I’ve met child prodigies and old men.
I’ve trained with a million first timers and gone against world champions.
I’ve trained in 6 countries and 12 states.
Grappling proves a universal language.
Jiu jitsu is always fresh and exciting. Each roll is slightly different than every one before it- new positions, reactions, body types – it’s always unique.
I’ll never get famous and I’ll never win a world title at black belt. I’ve learned to “appreciate the process”, as they say. My enjoyment comes from training consistently, persistently, and reaching a new personal best ever day.
At the end, BJJ will have been in my life longer than I was married and longer than I was a parent. It will be with me longer than my schooling and my career. To date, it’s the most influential thing I’ve done.
Whoever you are, I say you give jiu jitsu a try. You don’t have to be in shape. You don’t have to be young. You only have to train a few hours a week and I promise that you’ll see improvement in your strength, flexibility, weight, patience, and humility. Go to your local gym and just give it two months, three times a week.