By this time, you know I’m pretty obsessed with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). It’s all I talk about with my coworkers and friends. Granted my friends here in Florida are my teammates in BJJ.
Lately our academy has had a lot of foot traffic and one week trials for the curious ones that have heard about BJJ or have finally gained the courage to walk through the doors and inquire. The curious ones stay and get the sense of reality once they receive their own gi and white belt. White Belts come and go. The Blue Belt blues is a real thing. Injuries happen. Life happens. Families get started. Etc. etc.
The other night, a Blue Belt that I’ve never seen before walked in and we chatted after class. We were talking about how our acquaintances would ask something along the lines of
- “What do you do in your free time?”
- “How do you train so often?”
- “When are you not doing BJJ?”
- “How/Why do you drink so much water?”
It all started with the water question and our realization was, the people that usually wonder, aren’t “about that life”. Meaning they straight up just don’t understand.
There’s not a moment where I’m not thinking about stand-up technique, a new way to get a submission, an escape we learned in class three weeks ago, or anything BJJ. I walk around the office and wish I could shoulder roll everywhere or do penetration steps down an empty hall. I’ve shadow boxed in my cubicle while talking to coworkers. I’m used to getting asked what I’m doing or getting strange looks my way. I love BJJ, plain and simple. Now some of my answers may overlap and be the same for some questions, but that just proves the basic attraction to BJJ.
“What do you do in your free time?”
I tell them that I train BJJ, if their face is blank I tell them I do Mixed Martial Arts and wrestle. I get one of three reactions. 1) Their faces remain blank. 2) Their faces show fear and worry if they’re safe. 3) They’re dumbfounded and surprised that I pay to roll around with sweaty teammates or get punched and kicked. In reality, I train to relieve stress, make connections, for mental stimulation, emotional stability, and prepare for the day that these self defense techniques are needed for myself and/or others around me. I’m not a bad ass or tough guy that puffs his chest out everywhere to show dominance, I’d just much rather be prepared than not if/when that day comes.
My free time is spent in preparation and training in something I am passionate about.
“How do I train so often?” & “When are you not doing BJJ?”
I dedicate the hours of 1800 – 2030 Monday through Thursday after work and 1100 – 1400 on Saturdays to train. When I am not training, I feel like I am wasting time. The only time I take off from training is when I am injured, sick, or Friday/Sunday. Friday is my day to rest due to the amount of hours I spend on the mats and Sunday the dojo is closed.
Back in Washington, I was able to train for two hours on Monday and Wednesday and sometimes had open mat on Sundays followed by an academy BBQ or finishing off the weekend hanging out with some teammates for the rest of the day.
I train to keep myself mentally and physically fit. I train to keep my cool in stressful situations.
“How/Why do you drink so much water?”
I used to keep myself from drinking water after intense training session so I could weigh myself dry when I got home. After two incidents of severely cramping from dehydration and having to lay on the floor in pain and crawling or calling a roommate to bring me water.
I am one of those people who carry around a gallon of water everywhere I go. I refill it every morning and try to finish at least half of it by the time I leave work at 1700, knowing that I will be drinking the majority of it during training. I stopped refusing to drink water before I got home to avoid the waste of an hour getting all my muscle cramps to subside.
Am I crazy?
It may seem crazy to pay to get choked out or roll around with sweaty individuals for 10 hours a week. I see it differently, I see it as paying for therapy, relaxation, and learning self defense. I pay to physically push myself beyond limits to become stronger. I pay to keep myself clean and away from drugs and alcohol abuse. To have an outlet of friends that have become family by the first sparring session. To end up with bruises and sore muscles every night and morning. You could say I’m insane or crazy, but training keeps me sane and down to Earth.
I chase the Jiu Jitsu high and the feeling of total relaxation and living in the moment. It’s sitting on the mats completely exhausted, gi open and undone, belt loose/around your neck/on the other side of the mats, smiling and laughing with your teammates. Nothing else matters in the world except for those moments on the mat.
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Keep training. Oss!