Jiu-Jitsu Reminds Us How To Play

Image Source: Trinity SP Photography

As kids, recess is our time to let loose, forget about schoolwork, and, well, be kids. At some point, though — usually around middle or high school — we’re essentially told that we’re too old for play time. The exercise we get is often treated as a task: Go lift weights so you can be strong, sign up for after-school sports so you have extra-curriculars to list when applying for college, join a spin class so you don’t get fat. We may enjoy exercising, and the repetition of it may keep us disciplined, but the older we get, the less it resembles the type of exercise we got as little kids, running around and getting dirty and pretending to be part of a herd of magical wild horses. (Or maybe that was just me.)

Jiu-jitsu has a way of flipping this standard on its head, though. The art does give us everything we’d hope for in an adult exercise routine, with strength, cardio, and a sense of routine and progress naturally built into training. But once the drilling is done, it’s time to play.

For a few minutes at a time, we stop being the office manager, the college student, or the retail worker and return to our primal roots. We flip upside-down, tumble across the mats, and try to come up with creative, strategic, and even silly ways to gain dominance over our teammates. Even when we’re training for a big competition and our rolls take on a more serious, intense nature than normal, we’re still down on the ground, sweating all over each other and strongly resembling our wilder primate relatives.

For as much as we call it the “Gentle Art,” jiu-jitsu really is animalistic, and that’s good. Even our domesticated dogs and cats still play well into their adult (and even senior) years. Playing is important for complex creatures. And while humans have developed other forms of play — board and video games, for example — the physical and social nature of jiu-jitsu takes us back to when we were just innocent kids, playing tag or wrestling with our siblings or racing up and down the street without thinking about how many calories we were burning or how many “reps” we’d completed.

That’s not to say that other forms of play aren’t beneficial. We all have ways we like to unwind, and grappling isn’t everyone’s idea of “fun.” Those of us who do have jiu-jitsu, though, should count ourselves lucky that even as adults, we get to shrug off the pressures of adulthood and take a few hours a week to be kids again. Others who are not more into such physicality, can try other interesting activities such as playing games on sites like จีคลับ.


Image Source: Trinity SP Photography


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