Jiu-Jitsu… Is it (Really) for Everyone?

Whoops, I can tell that you’re already irate. Already wondering what I’ve cooked up this time, and how it will offend your poor sensibilities. Hold the phone, cool those jets! Ponder along with me the relevance of the above question… I’m simply asking if this martial art we all love, or have grown to love, in spite of the physical and mental challenges, truly for everyone; the little itty-bitties all the way up to 75+? I’ve seen and trained with people having physical or mental challenges, and been truly humbled by the heart and patience shown on the mats (by them for me). I was thinking about how I grew up; constantly involved in school functions, competitive sports and social outings. Never a dull moment, always something on the horizon. Which is why I have stuck with jiu-jitsu. It’s more than the competing & training. There is a camaraderie among teammates not always found in other sports, it’s exciting & every day is a challenge! So, naturally athletic and socially outgoing, I pondered if jiu-jitsu is truly for everyone… I simply assumed that anyone and everyone could hop on the mats and learn as I’ve seen time and time again. Is jiu-jitsu for everyone? Who am I to say; and here’s what some peeps had to say:
* Every time I hear someone say jiu-jitsu is for everyone it makes me a little upset. I mean, sure, everyone can sign up and put on a gi and TRY it… I don’t think just anyone can DO it and STICK with it.
* It depends on who you mean? Not all people sign up to compete or become and ultimate machine lol, some people want to learn for self-defense or to be in shape, maybe meet some new friends? I guess it depends on the type of person. I think it’s definitely for everyone in that anyone can give it a go.
* What does that mean anyway? Everyone? I personally watch the UFC & think “OMG is that what you do?” But you say no and come watch a class, but to be honest I don’t even GET what you mean, brazilian jiu-jitsu?!?
* I think about it in a different way. I’m here to progress, learn, and win. I’m not looking at helping you, I’m looking at helping me. I don’t want to train (as awful as it sounds) with someone who doesn’t have the same goals as me. It’s frustrating for both of us.
* Anyone that has a drive to learn and challenge themselves can do brazilian jiu-jitsu. Just like there will be naturals in swimming or track, football or baseball, there are the same in jiu-jitsu. But what does any of us train for? Isn’t all about the individual, their journey?
* I know people who aren’t very athletic. They are amazing on the mats; either with movement, vision, ability to teach others, or all the above. The beauty of jiu-jitsu is that we can all find the niche where we excel.
* All I have to say is that in order to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu you must be humble. If someone is close minded or unwilling to let go of their pre-conceived notions, I’m not sure how long they’ll last.
* For some people it’s fun, for some people it’s hard work, for others it’s their way to decompress after a long day. Is it for everyone? I’d say it’s for anyone that wants to empty their mind of anything else while they’re on the mats.
* You know you’re going to rile some people up with this right? Everyone and anyone can start, not everyone and anyone will embrace the process & grow. So yeah, it’s for everyone, at first.
* Hmmmm, that’s a good one. I think everyone can do it. If that’s what you mean by “jiu-jitsu is for everyone,” then yes. Everyone can do it. I mean, the wasn’t that the point? Isn’t sport jiu-jitsu a different story?
* I see kids, parents, elderly… if you’re willing to learn and put in the time, then yeah, it’s for everyone.

It isn’t your coordination, athleticism or ability that makes you a good candidate for jiu-jitsu. So what does make you a good candidate? It’s letting go of everything you know and trusting what your Professor says; it’s having respect for those on and off the mats, their individual journey and goals; it’s about being in the moment not what’s going to happen at that next tournament; it’s understanding that jiu-jitsu is a lifestyle, a discipline, & like anything worthwhile takes time to master; and lastly it’s about leaving your ego, preconceptions and judgments at the door. what works for you may not work for someone else, and your goal may not be their goal; working together ensures you both reach your goals, end of story. SO sure! I say jiu-jitsu is for everyone, except for the individual who can’t accept or recognize that they aren’t the most important person on the mats. If you’re used to being the egomaniac powerhouse, the dominant overachiever outside of jiu-jitsu land, you may have a harder time adjusting to the ways of brazilian jiu-jitsu… because you will be overpowered, outskilled and outplayed by smaller, older, younger- you name it! If everyone can accept this with grace and humility, then YES jiu-jitsu is for everyone. It’s not just a physical game, it’s a mental game and accepting that you’re not number 1 is the first step in a long but adventuresome jiu-jitsu journey!


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