They Say Jiu Jitsu Changes Lives….
The say Jiu-Jitsu changes lives. If you’re in the Jiu-Jitsu community or around the martial arts community, you’ve likely heard this being thrown around. Heck, we even have it here on our website front page. Of recent I have heard Marcelo Garcia, of whom some consider to be the greatest Jiu-Jitsu practitioner of all time, say this in his latest video part. It is a line you will hear over-and-over.
It can be easy to discard this as being a form of heart-string-pulling advertising, a way of tapping into the emotions of potential future Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. But from my experiences in Jiu-Jitsu so far, I see that this is simply not the case. Sometimes…Jiu-Jitsu really does change lives!!! I just want to share one experience I witnessed this weekend gone at the Queensland BJJ State Titles.
The weekend just past was the Queensland State Titles. It is the largest event on our local BJJ competition calendar, and it is the first time a lot of our new students had decided to compete. The competition was the largest in its history so far with many teams vying to see who would take the State Title crown. Well that was never going to be us, we are a small team, a new team, but it was our first outing as a group. With a mixed bag of results among our competitors, overall the vibe was good, and many of them were pumped to have experienced their first competition rolls. One competitor’s experience really hit a chord with me though, and here’s a little recent history on that competitor.
It’s just another day at the Academy, both Paulo and I are teaching, cleaning, doing paperwork and answering calls of prospective students. Paulo calls me and tells me he just had an interesting phone call. At first sounding a little flustered, telling me he had been on the phone for a long period of time with this person. He said this prospective student threw at him many questions, was very cautious, and wanted a great deal of information about our Academy and how things proceeded there. It was reportedly and interesting call, not only for its length, but the deep probing nature of it. A week or so later it was just myself at the Academy and this same prospective student came in for their first trial class. I was not aware that it was the same person, but again this person was very thorough, asking a multitude of questions, and informing me of his age (mid 40s), and his perception of his current ability, in a very much cautious manner. He showed a great deal of nerves on that first day prior to stepping on the mats. If I am to be entirely honest, I was thinking this prospective student was going to be a big challenge to teach. So the class starts and I was baffled. This prospective student had told me that he had some experience in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, and was actually quite decent. I couldn’t understand why there was so much question asking and apparent nerves. As we would later find out, this person is a university professor, and is just a very organised, thorough, and calculated person.
As the weeks go by we start stepping-up the training a little for the upcoming State Titles, everyone including this new member starts putting-in stronger sessions at the Academy. Paulo and I are noticing this member is quite regular with his training, is quite tough, and is very studious. He is an older man in Jiu-Jitsu terms, but nevertheless is hanging with the younger crew. This member is losing weight, is growing in strength, and his fitness is improving. He starts to ask questions about the upcoming Titles, and Paulo starts telling me that he is almost certain that this member is going to enter. And that is exactly what he did.
Now to the day of the State Titles. As a coach I feel a lot of pressure to compete and to perform. I was up first for the day and had likely the worst competition performance I had ever had. I was very down after this, and pulled myself from the remainder of the day as I didn’t feel I was competing with any fire-in-the-belly or any desire. The rest of the day for me involved coaching and supporting our team alongside Professor Paulo. This same member was up very soon, and about to step out into his first Jiu-Jitsu competition. He did well out there on the mats, but it wasn’t to be his day, and lost his match earning an overall 3rd in his division. He could have been upset with this, he could have been down as I was, but man this student was pumped!!! A smile from cheek-to-cheek. He was elated!!! He would proceed to tell Paulo and I, a few times actually, that he had achieved his goal. He had improved his fitness, lost weight, developed strength, learned some Jiu-Jitsu, and most importantly to him he had put himself out there stepping on those competition mats in front of everyone and had gave his best on that day. I had never seen someone so happy after coming off of a loss, and this was a real wake-up call for me. At that moment I realised that on this day the student had been the teacher, and I still had a lot of learning to do.
Anyways, back to this student, no-one can tell me that Jiu-Jitsu hasn’t changed his life for the better. If you saw his smile, his elation, the changes in his confidence, strength and fitness over the past few months, there can be no contesting that Jiu-Jitsu has helped to improve him as a person. It may not be a drastic change, a complete life changing process, but it has definitely helped this person improve as a person in many ways. And all of these positive changes are transferable into one’s life out of Jiu-Jitsu.
So for me at this point in my journey, having seen it many times over, I would say that Jiu-Jitsu definitely has the potential to change some people’s lives for the better.
Thanks for reading, and happy rolling. Please don’t hesitate to share your experiences with Jiu-Jitsu and how it has changed your life for the better on this thread.
Co-Owner at Flow Martial Arts