I have now officially been training Jiu-Jitsu for four years! In some ways it doesn’t seem that long, but in other ways it feels like a lifetime. It’s almost as if the first forty years of my life before I started Jiu-Jitsu were just a dress rehearsal, and I didn’t really start living until I stepped on the mat.
There is something very freeing to me about grappling, it’s like nothing else matters when I’m rolling. I’m not thinking about anything but how to survive in that moment. I’ve felt some of the same freedom when stand-up sparring, but it’s not as all-encompassing as grappling. Jiu-Jitsu is an intensely complex struggle for dominance, and when I roll, every part of me is completely absorbed. It’s not just something you do, it’s something you feel. If you take two competitors in most forms of fighting or sport and you blindfold them, they are probably going to have a difficult time, but a couple of Jiu-Jitsu fighters should have no problem.
Jiu-Jitsu can teach you humility, patience, and perseverance. It can help you learn to remain calm, even when you’re surrounded by chaos. It can increase your tolerance for pain, as well as your ability to withstand uncomfortable situations. It gives you a chance to show compassion, and to grow by helping others improve. It exposes your weaknesses, and tests your resolve. It can be challenging and frustrating, but that’s also part of the reason it’s so rewarding. You will bleed, you will bruise, every muscle in your body will ache, but if you commit to it, Jiu-Jitsu will make you stronger in every way. I feel like I’ve only just begun to really understand what this beautiful art has to offer, and I’m thankful for all it’s given me.