How Did You Get Addicted To BJJ?

Whenever I meet BJJ addicts, I love asking them how they got addicted to BJJ.

There are a few signs to help identify who is a fellow BJJ addict:

~ They are wearing a BJJ t-shirt (which is enough to get the conversation started)
~ They own several types of kimonos and can discuss the merits of an Atama over a Shoyoroll
~ Wow! They know who Buchecha, Galvao, and Renato Laranja are!
~ If the conversation has such terms as De la Riva guard and rubber guard, you are dealing with the truly afflicted
~ They talk about how they are recovering from a training injury but feel they are getting ready to compete next month

For most people, the story of their addiction goes something like this

I had a buddy who was always trying to get me to try doing jiu-jitsu. I saw martial arts in the movies, and it always fascinated me. I was bored of working out at the gym, so I came to try a class.

I thought that with my strength he wouldn’t be able to do anything, but he choked or arm locked me every 30 seconds the first time we rolled.

Then I rolled with this guy who was only a 145-pound purple belt, but he schooled me! After that, I bought a gi and started training.

Why is training jiu-jitsu so addicting?

There is certainly the release of exercise-induced endorphins following a spirited roll. You can see the exhilaration in people’s eyes as they are catching their breath and retying their belt after a good match.

But I think it is something more than that. There is something that appeals to us about the problem solving of a BJJ roll’s “kinetic human chess.”

Our minds are challenged by the problems (John Danaher calls it “dynamic problem solving”) that an opponent presents in a roll. Our minds must be completely in the moment and we search our jiu-jitsu arsenal for the correct technique to solve that problem. And back and forth it goes.

That feeling of when that new technique works for us is a powerful reward and we want more.

Even when we get tapped, we find our minds hours later going over the scenario and wondering “What could I have done differently?” We resolve to do something different next time and can’t wait to get back to class to try it again!

Read also: Don’t Get Discouraged Trying New Techniques!


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