Post Traumatic Stress And Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Here’s What No One Tells You

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If you’ve suffered trauma, you’ve probably seen a lot of literature on how Brazilian jiu-jitsu can help.

What this literature won’t tell you is what will happen when you have a bad day. You’ll be triggered easily and inevitably get partnered up with the rough guy or girl who will slap you around, bully you, and set off all your triggers. You’ll even be a step behind the lower belt. All you’ll be doing is gasping for air with your ears ringing while you try to go into survival mode. You’ll relive the experiences that caused your trauma. You may feel trapped, as everyone who trains does, but you won’t be able to work your way through it.

You’ll mentally beat yourself up afterwards. You’ll call yourself names and tell yourself that you should probably quit. You’ll think all your hard work and progress was for nothing since ‘obviously’ you wouldn’t be able to defend yourself in a real life situation. That will bring you to your lowest point: imagining yourself in the situation that originally traumatized you, and not being able to do anything about it.

I want you to know that you are not alone. You’re even stronger than you thought for showing up to class on those bad days. The truth is, that voice in your head is a liar. It’s you lying to yourself because wallowing in self pity and holding onto pain is familiar. It’s easier than fighting back with positivity. We all do it in different ways. But believe me when I tell you, everyone has their bad days. We’re definitely going to be okay!

If you personally know someone with this struggle, don’t brush them off. Let them know you’re there for them.

If you are one of these people, know that the bad feelings will pass and you will go back to being incredible and believing it, too! The cycle will be there, but as you work through the trauma, it’ll slowly lessen.

So yes, jiu-jitsu is good for people who’ve been through a trauma, just as it’s good for everyone. But some people still struggle emotionally during class. For those people, I want you to know that you’re not ‘crazy’ for feeling down on your bad days. You’re only that much stronger. Never give up your jiu-jitsu. It’s yours forever!


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