Recently I spoke to a New Zealand-based BJJ Black Belt, who wished to share their thoughts on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu anonymously.
Read their thoughts on what Jiu-Jitsu means to them below:
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu represents so much more than just being able to strangle someone into submission.
Jiu Jitsu is learning how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, learning to relax and overcome. It is about problem solving under pressure, thinking and planning ahead. It is about stick-ability through frustrations and injuries and about team work.
For me especially it is also about overcoming fear and anxiety, something that I still get on a sometimes daily basis, at its worse I struggled to go into crowded malls. Working with a counsellor I received a step by step plan that needed filling out before I could get in the car to go training, and sometimes having to pull the car over to fill out the form on the way so that I did not turn around and go home, even getting to training some nights was a battle.
I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age and spent 6 months at Auckland hospital going to school to understand my behaviour and anger issues, issues that would see me spend more time in detention and cleaning the rugby fields than in the class room and start to push me on the wrong side of the law.
All the forms of training and fighting sports I have done over the years have helped instil disciple, direction of energy and bring my anxiety and frustrations to a manageable level (along with the correct medications). For me, Jiu Jitsu is the one sport that has never gotten boring as there are so many levels and layers, it is great for my mental health and wellbeing and generally full of great, likeminded people.
I am proud of my path it has enabled me to understand who I am, learn to control my anxiety, my emotions, frustrations and anger and become a better person. I still struggle with anxiety and sometimes that effects the way I move and roll, this is just more stuff for me to work on. Competing for me is about overcoming my own irrational fears and beating my own anxieties, to lead from the top and show others through adversity comes great reward. This helps make my mind and body stronger.
My experience helps me help others that have similar struggles and issues, and try to help my whole team become better people, not just better athletes. As instructors and Professors we should not be there to dictate or play God, this is a shorted sighted egotistical mind-set that is not inclusive and pushes jiu jitsu away from the people that could benefit the most, they ones that the founders were trying to reach.
Every day I look for self-improvement, be a better Dad, Step Dad, partner, friend, coach, training partner.
Don’t judge people on face value, look deeper, become a part of their journey not the person that destroys it.