Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jiu Jitsu is a Sanctuary for Weary Hearts and Minds.

A lot of times we come in to train with a lot on our minds and in our hearts. Life outside the academy can be filled with difficulty and stress. Fortunately, we have jiu jitsu.

It's an often-discussed topic - sports and exercise being good for the soul and a source of relaxation and healing for the mind and heart. I hear people extolling the virtues of running, yoga, cycling, surfing and other martial arts (e.g., karate or kung fu) all the time. Jiu jitsu (and grappling, in general), on the other hand, is spoken of much less in that context. As a combat sport, jiu jitz has a reputation (that is rooted in fact) of being focused on competition and fighting. But, don't let that fool you - jiu jitz can sooth the soul just as well.

Last week, another black belt buddy and I were talking about jiu jitsu (of course) over a couple of beers. He was telling me how he'd come in to train recently with a lot on his mind - almost depressed. He explained that the process of training that morning was a real transformation for him, lifting and strengthening his spirit. And, I could relate.

This is a common experience for me: I show up to train, with something heavy on my mind. Part of me feels like I don't want to be there, because I'm lacking the clarity I usually have for jiu jitz. My coach takes our group through a warm-up, and then we start to work a technique. Flashes of my bad day or my troubles, in general, appear here and there as I make my way through the familiar routine of my jiu jitsu training. At some point, things change and there is nothing else but me and jiu jitsu. By the time it's time to free train, I'm back - 100% focused on jiu jitsu. This has happened dozens of time for me over the years.

It's a form of therapy or meditation, really. Or, maybe it's like a warm blanket or a comforting hug. Either way it's there for you when you need it. And at the same time it's still someone trying to choke you or break your arm - that, I think, is what makes it so great.

So, thanks, jiu jitsu - I needed you today.


  1. I can relate to this so much, sometimes i do want to go but i do not feel at my best, but once i'm in the game everything levels. Rafael Chuquillanqui BJJC

  2. It is the great balancer. My wife says that Jiu Jitsu is my mistress. I would have to agree.

  3. p.s. DSTRYRsg was just seen at Gracie Barra in Chicago. I should have had my picture taken. Or at least laid a sticker on the Sears tower.

  4. who is the tool bar in the triangle choke?


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