Anyone who has many BJJ friends on Facebook will see memes coming up in their news feed about “Embracing the Grind” or “Go Hard or Go Home!”.
This suggests that the rest of us have been seriously slacking in our approach to jiu-jitsu and should hang up our kimonos and take up a less demanding activity like Pokemon Go.
Never mind the fact that many of the advocates of the hardcore approach rapidly burn out and disappear from BJJ class altogether. Ever notice that the guys who come in with the most enthusiasm at the outset are absent from the class picture the following year?
This message paints training BJJ as a grim affair involving adrenaline spurts, knuckles across the mouth for chokes, and being crushed by mat monsters in hard rolls in every session. In contrast, we have the Gracie brothers Rener and Ryron who have coined the phrase “Keep it playful” as the philosophy one should approach in their jiu-jitsu training.
Is this somehow less than the hardcore mentality?
I think it comes down to why are you doing jiu-jitsu. Much of the BJJ media is focused on the elite competitors who live in a different world than the average BJJ student. While we are all inspired by the accomplishments and elite levels achieved by these athletes, it is not something Joe Bluebelt can realistically emulate. Training twice per day, seven days per week while devoting your life to diet and physical conditioning is simply not possible for most of the Jiu-jitsu Times readers.
Bodybuilding magazines are infamous for publishing the 22 Inch Biceps Workouts (“Blitz Your Biceps!!!”) of Mr. Olympia which are completely unrealistic for the average readers of the articles. In the same way, the average guy who is looking to learn a little jiu-jitsu after work should not compare himself to the professional BJJ phenoms. For the majority of us training jiu-jitsu, 2-4 times a week at the academy (in addition to our other responsibilities in life) is a pretty good way to have jiu-jitsu in our lives.
The “Keep it playful” mentality is sustainable. You can stay healthy and not burn out. You can enjoy jiu-jitsu instead of seeing the class as a physical and mental ordeal to be survived.
Now I am not suggesting to Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida to “Keep it playful”! The top competitors and even a nucleus of serious grapplers at your own academy NEED that level of intensity and commitment to roll at a top level.
However, for the rest of us, the better approach is to “Keep it playful” with occasional bursts of intensity.
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