Nowadays, if you asked me about my passions, Jiu-jitsu would number near the top of the list. It wasn’t always the case though.
There was once a time when I looked at the art and saw only the potential negative of close personal contact. I couldn’t see the fun and effectiveness of it all.
So even though, I trained in an environment where it would have been easy for me to learn, my interest never peaked above the baseline. And that’s despite the fact that teammates urged me over and over again to give it a try.
The catalyst that changed everything was a tournament.
It seems so long ago now but in the fall of 2007, I got the chance to get a front row seat as countless individuals displayed their passion and drive for the art on the mats. And it started with a simple decision.
On one particular night, a request was made for volunteers to help with the tournament, and I said yes.
Then when the day arrived, I made my way to Mechanicsville, VA, and once there, we went over basic expectations and I was assigned to work a table. That entailed keeping track of time, points, and advantages for each match and organizing the brackets.
It can be dull or fascinating depending on the match in front of you.
What it offered me though is the opportunity to see passion on display. I was also really curious about the level of focus I saw when some of the grapplers were warming up. The whole experience made that world interesting to me.
I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to compete.
At that point, I was ready.
Start When You Feel Like It
Just looking through the lens of my own experience, I understand that the prospect of training jiu-jitsu is daunting. There’s a lot of physical contact. Injuries are possible. Training can be hard and physically demanding.
But in the midst of all that, one thing shines through. It’s FUN, and as you have fun, a lot of amazing things happen in your life. From my own experience:
- It significantly improved my physical condition almost through osmosis.
- It gave me the opportunity to express my fascination with problem solving on a physical level.
- It increased my inner fortitude and strength.
- It gave me the opportunity to meet and build relationships with a lot of amazing people.
- It is a form of self expression for me.
That’s a short and incomplete list, but it’s what I choose to focus on right now. It should give you a sense of why I believe that jiu-jitsu is beneficial though.
That belief at times has made me wish that I had started earlier, but it happened when it did because I wasn’t ready before.
I can appreciate that now.