Why You Should Try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Last September I got the urge to go back to freestyle wrestling. The no-pot and no-booze has helped with my health a fitness, I wondered if I could do it. So I reached out to an older wrestling mentor of mine via Facebook. He went 197-0 in high school. I asked if the local wrestling club allows older people (like me) to join these days. I thought his mom still helped out there. I was nervous but I reached out anyways.

I sent an email to his mom about registration for the local wrestling club. I asked if I could go to a practice to see if I have what it takes to make the commitment to the club. Turns out, she is no longer involved with the club, but forwarded my email to the two head coaches. The wheels were in motion! Until they weren’t…

Unfortunately, the local wrestling club wasn’t allowing outside individuals to join, as the training facility is part of the local University. “Damn, this pandemic” I thought to myself.

My Twitter friend, Ed, made a good point…

I wanted to do some type of sport I’m good at. And they’re aren’t many. I pushed forward. I gave the local Gracie Barra gym a call. The head coach mentioned on the phone something similar, that my wrestling skills would help. I suggested I do the class, the coach said it shouldn’t take long for me to transition to the Advanced class with sparring, because of my wrestling background. I name-dropped some people I used to wrestle with in high school that were purple belts in bjj at their facility. I told him I’d be there the next day to introduce myself and check out the gym.

I should mention, a few years go I tried jiu jitsu. Signed up for twelve classes and bought a gi uniform. But I only went to maybe eight classes then quit. I’m sure I had many excuses not to go. “I’m no good.” “I don’t know anyone.” “This is too hard.” “I’m too busy.”

But this time, I wanted to commit. I was a year and a half sober from booze, and a month had gone by with no pot. Quitting weed was a big deal for me, as I’d been consuming it regularly for many many years. I signed up for a year membership. I was locked in. Good, no more excuses. Until I got hurt…

Up until my rib injury, I still had it in my head that I “could take it” and that I could be as phyically demanding on my body as I was in my 20s. I turned 36 recently and this experience was eye opening. I have to take it easier at the gym and bjj. Be aware of your body and its limitations. Or find out the hard way like I did. I was excited to get into wrestling again. That didn’t pan out, so I looked into bjj. Was excited to start that. During all of this, I never once stopped to think if I could get injured. Went hard every practice for a month. That wrestler mindset of “go go go” doesn’t transfer to bjj as much as I thought.

I waited anxiously for my x-ray results…

Messaged my the head coach via Facebook about my rib injury. He said rib injuries are the first Bjj injury. Glad to know other newbies have been in my situation as well. Good news soon followed…

No fracture, just bruising! Thank goodness. I was either going to be out for months, or only weeks. I got lucky. During the time off for my ribs to heal, I found a book from a person I used to follow on Twitter. The book is called, “The White Belt Survival Guide”

So far the book has some great input on mindset, strategy, and what to expect being a white belt. You can grab a copy here (not an affiliate link)

After two weeks of thinking about jiu jitsu everyday, I finally felt like I could go back. There was some residual pain and uncomfortableness, but I popped two ibuprofen and was good to go. Kept it nice and easy and slow, what I should have been doing from the start. As a matter of fact, I was so pumped to be back, that I bought myself an early birthday present…

It fits, real tight…

Why Jiu Jitsu?

  • A great way to get out of your comfort zone is to put on a uniform, roll around on a mat, and sweat all over a stranger. Learn bjj.
  • BJJ teaches you more than self-defence. It teaches you to…Be punctual, Look presentable, Show respect, and Meet new people.
  • After a month of bjj, I’ve noticed that I don’t get discouraged or disappointed that I can’t do a move correctly, get taken down, or not being able to make someone tap. I’m focused on the long game. I want to compete one day. Just realized I should apply this to life in general.
  • I’m nervous when I go into bjj class. Don’t know anyone, they have more experience, and I barely know what I’m doing. But I still show up early. Fears and doubts can literally hold us back from learning how to defend ourselves. Ignore and go on the offence against your fears.
  • Try a free bjj class. Nothing to lose and it might be exactly what you’re looking for.

The list can go on. Learning how to protect yourself is a bonus.

Hopefully I see you out there on the mats. If you have any questions about joining a bjj gym, feel free to reach out in the comments here or DM me on Twitter. Let’s roll!


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