The best thing I’ve done for my sanity was to sign up for BJJ. The second-best thing I did for my sanity was to avoid joining a “traditional” gym before I signed up for jiu-jitsu, because if I knew how little it cost to pick things up and put them down, I probably would’ve balked at the amount I had to pay for classes every month at my local jiu-jitsu academy.
Jiu-jitsu ain’t cheap, and the membership cost itself is just the beginning. Gis, rashguards, spats, shorts, tournament fees, and mouthguards (or, alternatively, new teeth) make this sport a pricey one. And of course, that’s just the basics. Once you get involved, you may also start splurging on things like seminars, private lessons, or DVDs.
The price tag is a sticking point for many people who want to sign up for BJJ. It’s why many academies don’t put their monthly membership fees on their websites — they want you to come in and try a class and understand why it costs so much more than your local 24/7 gym. They want you to see what you’re paying for instead of being hung up on the cost and avoiding stepping onto the mats at all.
Whether or not you agree with these sales tactics, there’s no doubt that jiu-jitsu is more than just an expense — it’s an investment into your health and happiness, all for the low, low cost of a monthly membership and some stretchy clothes.
You’ll get more than martial arts lessons in a typical jiu-jitsu class. It’s a fast and easy way to make friends as an adult, and those friends are likely to have similar goals as you. You don’t have to attend awkward after-work happy hours to try to force friendships with your coworkers — you just show up to train, slap hands and bump fists, and try to choke each other. Boom. Instant friendship.
Though jiu-jitsu is undeniably hard on the body, you’ll also find that it helps you build muscle and lose weight, even if you’re not doing any other exercise to supplement it (but, side note, strength training will help keep you in grappling shape for years to come). You’ll likely also find that you want to make healthier day-to-day choices to prevent your hard training from going to waste and to ensure that you’re at your best for your next session. I’m not saying pizza will ever stop being delicious, but you’ll probably soon find that swapping soda and beer for water and replacing fast food dinners with healthy homemade meals will serve your body better once you make it work extra hard.
You can also make the argument that jiu-jitsu training could help you out if you were to ever get into a street fight, but to be honest, the real way that BJJ will assist you here is making you realize just how fragile the human body is and how much better it is to avoid a street fight than to win one. Bam. Instant savings on medical bills and lawyer fees.
Even if you look beyond the practical aspects of it all, jiu-jitsu is just fun. It’s playful and slightly primitive, giving practitioners an outlet for stress and the underrated opportunity to just roll around on the floor and sweat for a while. I feel like this is what a lot of adults miss out on when we enter, well, adulthood. We get told that it’s time to grow up, that our activities should fit inside a certain societal box. And jiu-jitsu just sits a bit outside of that box. It’s messy and gross and, yes, a bit violent. But isn’t a bit of friendly mutual combat a healthier stress outlet than drinking away your frustration or sitting on the couch mindlessly binging a TV show as soon as you get home from work?
Jiu-jitsu is technically an expense, and it’s certainly a larger expense than other exercise programs. But BJJ is so much more than just an exercise program. If you can, cut down on other frivolous purchases in your life, and allocate those funds instead to a new BJJ hobby. Whatever damage is done to your bank account will be made up in the benefits that jiu-jitsu will add to your day-to-day life.
Well worth every cent and then some. Great piece. Can’t wait to get back on the mats.
I’ve often said the monthly fee is cheaper than weekly office visits for therapy! It’s worth it in every way possible!