One of my BJJ bros recently told me he thought I was an extraordinary athlete, and I was like “You must have me confused with someone else!”, because I still don’t think of myself as an athlete. I understand there are people who enjoy exercise, but I am not one of them. I like the results I get from it, but I’m not crazy about actually doing it. So, I don’t train Jiu-Jitsu because I love to workout, I workout because I love Jiu-Jitsu.
One day in the kids’ class at Lincoln BJJ Center, Brooklyn was sluggish during the warm-ups, so Greg asked if she was already tired, and she said she was. Then Greg told her “You should see what I do to them in the advanced class! They know it’s going to be a hard day when I ask if they’re ready to suffer.” The physical training at LBJJC is way more intense than in any other martial arts class I’ve ever attended! I don’t think there’s been a single person, no matter what other training they might have, who’s gone to class at Lincoln BJJ and thought “That was easy!”.
For the people who say Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not a valid form of self-defense, my first counter would be that the more physically fit someone is, the better chance they will have in a self-defense scenario, and Jiu-Jitsu fighters are usually in great shape. We also learn a lot more in BJJ than just how to “roll around on the ground”, not the least of which being the ability to not freak out in extremely uncomfortable, and even scary, situations, which is an important skill to have in any confrontation on the street.
Another aspect of self-defense which is often overlooked is that the greatest threats to our health and safety do not come from outside sources. The likelihood that I will ever have to use my martial arts training to fend off an attacker is slim to none, but the health benefits I gain from training Jiu-Jitsu are helping to protect my life every single day.
I still might not really think of myself as an athlete, but I am one, and thanks to BJJ, at 44 years old I’m in the best shape I’ve been in my entire life. I don’t know if I’m ever ready to suffer, but it’s worth it.
“It’s hard for everyone at first, then after awhile, it’s still hard, but not as hard as it is for everyone else.”