Is Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone?


Jiu-jitsu is not for everyone.

There.  I said it.

I’ll bet a ton of people are getting super mad and getting ready to tell me how little I know and how terrible I am for writing this.


Jiu-jitsu requires a certain willingness to abandon the ego.  Jiu-jitsu requires fortitude, and the ability to come back day after day even though it sometimes sucks.

It doesn’t require arms or legs. Just look at Kyle Maynard or any variety of wounded veterans who have sacrificed limbs for their country.  It doesn’t require a full range of motion or a high IQ.  You don’t have to work in any specific field or even have a job. You can be 55 pounds or 550 pounds when you start training.  It can be for men, women, and children.  The only requirement that jiu-jitsu has is that you want to do it.  And not everyone wants to do it.

We pour blood sweat and tears onto the mat in hopes of learning these techniques with which we are presented.  There’s a certain alchemy to it. Whatever time and effort you put in on the mat will eventually result in tangible benefits.  You will be in better shape.  You will have a greater capacity to defend yourself should you ever need to.

If you quit, jiu-jitsu won’t be for you.  If adversity breaks you, you may not stick around.  Only a very small number of people who walk in the door ever reach black belt.  That’s because although anyone can do jiu jitsu, it takes a special kind of person to stick with it through the trials and tribulations that we inevitably endure.

Even though jiu-jitsu isn’t for everyone, everyone should try it.  There’s a cathartic experience of realizing just how powerless you are.  That first time you roll with someone who gets it will change how you view the human experience.  Just know that anyone can get to that point if they decide to.

The better the atmosphere created by an instructor, the more people are added to that list of “anyone.”  But there will always be people who simply will not make it.  Sometimes those people are themselves the reason they couldn’t make it.  I’ve seen people with overactive unhealthy egos who simply couldn’t get over their own stubbornness. They later quit out of frustration with being beaten by people they thought they could beat.

There are also instances that are out of people’s control.

Jiu-jitsu requires a certain degree of comfort with having another person breathing and sweating on you, and not everyone is able to get to that point.  But anyone can make the decision to force themselves to get to that point.

So when someone says jiu-jitsu is for everyone, they’re not necessarily wrong. However, they’re kind of wrong. Jiu-jitsu can be for anyone and everyone, but not everyone makes the decision to stick with it, and not everyone is for jiu jitsu.


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