Work, Family, or Jiu Jitsu? The juggle struggle!

Photo By: Dave Henthorn Photography

I started Jiu Jitsu late in life, I was 32 and already had a career.  I know a lot of us wish that we could do Jiu Jitsu for a full time career.  The reality is that most of us have families to support and lots of bills to pay!  If I would have known about Jiu Jitsu when I was a kid, I would have done it instead of TKD without a second thought!  Then perhaps I might have had a chance to earn a significant living doing Jiu Jitsu.  I am a lineman by trade, dreaming about Jiu Jitsu while I climb them poles (sounds like a corny stripper story).  My instructor and his instructor are both full time police officers, one uniform for a Gi, what a life!  I’m sure the list is never ending, the professions that we have in Jiu Jitsu are endless.  At this point we might be lucky to fall back on Jiu Jitsu as extra income for our retirement plan!

So we have to roll responsibly, so to speak, we have lives to live the next day.  If we jump on the mats every night and work all day every day then eventually we will break down.  There is a balance that you must find in order to keep yourself healthy for work and Jiu Jitsu!  I have seen more knee injuries, back injuries, and neck injuries than I’d care to mention.  These are kids in their early 20’s!  My first thought isn’t, “Damn man, when will you be able to come back to training?”, It’s more like, “That’s gonna hurt like hell when he’s my age!”  I guess that’s life kicking in.

The next part is family!  I’m not sure how many people are like me but I myself have 4 kids and a 5th one in the oven!  Yep, you read that correctly, I love being a daddy!!  Their ages are 13, 11, 8, and 6.  Not many people are as lucky as I am to have a coach that let’s me involve my family as much as I do (that’s cause he has one too…).  On Mondays we have kid’s classes that my coach lets me help him teach.  My 11, 8, and 6 year old boys all attend this class (my daughter is 13, she’s no fun…).  Tuesdays and Thursdays we have adult classes and then for extra mat time my coach lets me help him with the private lessons on Sundays.  Then there’s open mat, this one I usually never make it to!  Lets face it, I’m 34 years old, 4 kids a wife, and a full time job I can’t really handle much more!!

I feel I have a pretty good balance on it all.  Most days I catch myself leaving before I even walk in the door.  This is a life I wouldn’t trade for the world!  Yes, I wish I could make a living doing Jiu Jitsu and support my family with my passion.  It’s just never going to be an option for me or for most of us.  This doesn’t change my love for the sport!  You can live a normal life, compete, and raise a family, trust me I do it!  But not everyone is as awesome as me! 😉




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