One of the biggest questions I get is "Why do you train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?"
If you look on most Jiu-Jitsu websites, you’ll see some pretty standard answers. People will talk about how great it is for self defense, or what a great workout it is.
And while those are all great reasons, they’re not the biggest reason for me personally.
Jiu-Jitsu can be very humbling when you’re starting out. You think you would be able to give as good as you get. But then you find somebody who’s actually good at Jiu-Jitsu... who has a deep game. And you get smashed.
It's like drowning. You try moving your arms and legs like you've seen people do. But if you don't know how to swim, all that movement just makes you sink to the bottom faster..
I feel like that’s good for you on some level. Not the whole drowning thing, but rather the idea that you need to face a little adversity every now and then. Sure, if you keep your car in the garage all the time it won’t get dinged up, but that's not good for your engine. You’ve got to take that car out on the open road and give it some gas every now and then to keep everything running smoothly. And let's face it, cars were meant to be driven.
Jiu-Jitsu just checks that block so well for so many people (yours truly included).
In the sport of jiu-jitsu, the game is to tap someone out. The tap lets you train safely. You put someone in a chokehold or an arm lock, or they put you in one. When you feel like you can't get out, you tap. You give up. Then the other guy lets go. It’s kind of like a kill. Splash one, bogey down! But nobody gets hurt.
You get the kill, or he gets the kill, or you kill each other a few times over the course of a five minute rolling session. Then you shake hands, "Thanks man, good roll!" and you move onto the next guy who's gonna try and kill you all over again.
Win, lose or draw, it doesn’t really matter. You try to learn a little from it, slap hands, bump fists and go again. That kind of thing builds character. It’s good for you.
Now some of you may be thinking, but Big Mike, what if I'm too old, or too fat, or too broken, or too whatever?
If your body works, you can do it. If you have injuries or limitations, you can learn to work around them. I’m 47 years old with a bad back, two bad knees, a bum ankle and rickety shoulders. You don't have to go and jump in there with killers right away. You can take beginner classes, learn some technique, train smart and work your way up from there.
You've just got to be okay with the idea of tapping out… with saying, okay, you got me. And when someone gets you, you realize it's no big deal. You just tap. You’ve got to be like Jack Black in Kung Fu Panda. “Wow, that was awesome! What did you just do to me? Show me how you did that!” If you can come into Jiu-Jitsu with that attitude you’ll have a blast!
And you won't just get better at Jiu-Jitsu.
I know it sounds corny, but Jiu-Jitsu really is a vehicle for improving your entire life. And it's one heck of a lot more fun than running on a treadmill or repetitively lifting big, heavy, things!
If you’re looking for a new workout that’s not boring, or maybe you’re just looking to get out of a rut you’ve found yourself in, come give it a try.
We’ll see you on the mats.
- Big Mike