Exercising can be like dating. You know you’d like to get involved in something, but you’re not sure what.
Your friends introduce you to various sports and some of them are okay, but nothing hits that sweet spot. You go a couple of times a week on a monthly membership, but there’s no way you’d commit to a full year, even with the discount. It’s just not the one.
Your First Date With Jiu Jitsu
Then one night you’re out at a sports bar with your friends and from the corner of your eye, you see UFC 1 playing on the TV over the bar. You find yourself glancing over time and again, until you just can’t look away. Who is that little guy in the pajamas? How is he beating all of those monsters? Wait, is he choking them with his jacket?
Suddenly, you need to know everything about this guy. What was he doing? Where can you learn to do that? “Why, that’s jiu jitsu,” the bartender says. “Don’t you know? Everyone is doing it these days.” When you get home, you type in “jiu jitsu” instead of your usual “youporn” and make plans to try your first class on Monday.
That first class is an explosion of excellence and light for some people and they are instantly addicted. It’s love at first sight. For others, jiu jitsu is a slow burn. You’re intimidated at first and it takes a lot of courage to go to each class. You’re always a little nervous and wondering if it’s a good fit for you. But you keep going – and before you know it, you can’t live without it.
So what are the signs that things are getting serious about BJJ?
10 Signs You’re Getting Serious About Jiu Jitsu
1. You Go Out of Your Way for Jiu Jitsu
Sure there’s a fitness club five minutes from your home, but it just doesn’t feel right to you anymore. Not like jiu jitsu does. You’ll drive one town over for jiu jitsu.
2. Your Loved Ones Comment on How Much Happier You Seem
They say you’re glowing, that you look younger. And the truth is, you feel younger. You feel aglow! Those endorphins! That serotonin! That testosterone! You’re sleeping better, thinking more clearly (about jiu jitsu) and feeling like a total beast, thanks to jiu jitsu.
3. You Find Yourself Working Jiu Jitsu Into Every Conversation
4. Before You Fall Asleep at Night, You Think About Jiu Jitsu
What was that crazy choke coach got you with in class? What should you do if your partner tucks his arm back around your leg when you have him in triangle: kimura or omoplata? Your train of thought picks up again as soon as you wake up. Jiu jitsu.
“You’re sleeping better, thinking more clearly (about jiu jitsu) and feeling like a total beast, thanks to jiu jitsu.”
5. You Cut Back on Partying to Spend More Time with Jiu Jitsu
Friday nights become quiet time so you can be fresh for Saturday morning jiu jitsu class.
6. You’re Broke
It seems as though there is always something you need for jiu jitsu. Like that new lion rashguard Meerkatsu designed for Andre Galvao. Or the Crucifix instructional that Aesopian guy came out with. You want to unsubscribe from the BJJHQ daily deals email, but what if you miss something? What if another gi comes up for $90 shipped? You can’t pass that up. Your fridge is giving you trouble, but what about those spats, though?
7. Jiu Jitsu’s Friends Become Your Friends
You find yourself spending more time outside of the club with people you’ve met at BJJ. Additionally, you can’t wait to introduce your friends to jiu jitsu. Don’t they want to be as happy as you are?
8. Jiu Jitsu Accepts You for Who You Really Are
Have other sports made you feel too tall, too fat, too lean, too small? Jiu jitsu doesn’t discriminate. There are techniques for every body type and each one has its advantages. Also, refer to number six. You get to wear those lion shirts at jiu jitsu and no one says anything. Unlike your boss.
9. Jiu Jitsu Makes You Want to Be a Better Person
Yes, jiu jitsu accepts you for who you are, but you no longer feel satisfied. You want to be stronger, faster, more explosive! You go back to that fitness gym and pump iron. You hit the streets to improve your cardio. You educate yourself on the philosophy and history of the sport you love. And jiu jitsu is by your side, always encouraging, always supporting.
10. You Want to Grow Old with Jiu Jitsu
You know you’ve got it bad when you can’t imagine living your life without jiu jitsu. You browse the blogs of the old guys who still train to find out what’s keeping them healthy and on the mats. You buy giant bottles of krill oil and Joint Armour. You focus on strengthening your body to prevent injury. Maybe you order a custom-made, embroidered belt. You’re in it for the long haul.
True Jiu Jitsu Love Never Dies
Being in love with jiu jitsu can be a roller coaster. When you’re on your game and your rolls are flowing like water, life is good. Other times, it feels like you’re spending most of your time trying to escape side control. You don’t like being tied down like that. Sometimes life happens and you have to take a job a few hours away or you tear your ACL or your rotator cuff. Sometimes you have family obligations that take priority. So sometimes, you leave. Or you take a break.
“But if it’s true love, you will always find your way back to jiu jitsu.”
But then your heart breaks, and you have a hole inside you where jiu jitsu used to be. You find yourself blankly staring into the distance, wondering if you’ll ever find another sport that fulfilled you the way jiu jitsu did. In time, maybe you will. Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you were really meant for CrossFit or yoga. But if it’s true love, you will always find your way back to jiu jitsu.
Photos courtesy of Dan Halpin.