9 Jiu-Jitsu Things Non-Grappling Folks Need To Understand About Us

It’s been said many times, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not just a sport, it is a complete lifestyle. Most people that start BJJ get really addicted to it. From everyday BJJ apparel to pure joy at meeting another addicted soul at an unexpected place, BJJ simply takes over our lives. As interesting as it can be for us to lead the lifestyle, it is often annoying to people around us. In truth, strangers usually do not suffer much, since Jiu-Jitsu folks aren’t as obsessive as vegans or Crossfiter. But the people around us, whether they are spouses or friends, it can be downright irritating. Unless we make them understand us.

To begin with, we have to be the first to understand that not all people like BJJ. Sounds crazy, I know, but some like to take photos or grow flowers instead. Now, with that out of the way, let’s look at a few aspects of Jiu-Jitsu life and how to make people around us understand it better. It is not going to be easy, but then again, neither is Jiu-Jitsu!

Jiu-Jitsu Class? What, Again?

As consuming as Jiu-Jitsu is in every walk of life, the pinnacle is actually being on the mats. Every grappler’s best part of the day is when the time for class rolls up. Most people eagerly await the time to put on their Gi or Rashguard and start training. And open mat is a whole different story. If we’re eager to get to class than we get to open mat half an hour early, hoping that someone opened the doors.

In order to make people understand the importance of going to class, we have to attempt to relate it to something they look forward to on a daily basis.  For most people, it is grabbing a drink after work or catching the latest episode of a show on Netflix. As wacky as it sounds, people need to relate to the feeling of joy we get from going to class. Comparing it to something they truly enjoy is the only way to do so!

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Weekend Nights Out

This one is probably the hardest one to explain. This is especially true for younger guys and girls who are crazy about the Gentle Art. The social customs of today are clear – weekends are nights out and nothing is more important than having fun! Well, non-BJJ folks, for us going to practice is fun! Do not get grapplers wrong, everyone enjoys a good night out with friends, but we probably can’t make it out both Friday and Saturday night.

So, dear friends and loved ones, how about a compromise? You leave us one night of the weekend for Jiu-Jitsu and we’ll keep partying to the morning with you on the other! Sounds like a plan, right?

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Not Another GI!

This one applies specifically to spouses and/or parents, once again depending on age. Ok, spouses first. In the case of a male grappler, it is kind of easier to help the wifey understand. We like and need Gis almost as much as you like and need shoes. So, please, let us have the latest Shoyoroll! After all it is a limited edition and you can relate.

When it is the other way around it gets a little bit trickier. However, all you girls out there already know what makes your man tick.  So, relate his favorite shopping item to your Gi collection. It doesn’t matter if it is video games, sneakers or tailor-made suits. They’ll get it.

Lastly, for all you unemployed teenage BJJ enthusiasts out there, there’s a hack for convincing your parents to splash the cash. Want that latest hemp Gi? Just point out to your parents what other kids your age demand and make them understand how “mature” you are. It’s not guaranteed to work, but it is probably your best option.

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Taking A Vacation

Yeah, ok, we all need a vacation, especially if we do not live by the sea. As a rule of thumb though, let’s keep vacations down to no more than a couple per year, all right? Furthermore, please try and support us if, by chance, we run into a competition at our vacationing spot. After all, Jiu-Jitsu is a global phenomenon, so there’s a great chance to find one wherever we go.

Secondly, we understand that the Gi takes up space in our bags, but come on, when are we going to get the chance to train with so and so again? They have a great academy where we booked our hotel, so we get to go at least once, right?

It is very simple, really. A one day fix of visiting an academy, or competing is enough to get us through the vacation without withdrawal symptoms. And you can look at it this way – you get a few hours for yourself at a heavenly destination.

Come On, It’s Just One Burger!

Apart from training, we take our diet very seriously, After all, it is a weight division sport. Let’s be honest we’re not such a big pain in the ass most of the time. Everyone makes an exception for a night out with friends and family. In all honesty, significant others do require extensive patience in order to cope. On a plus side, however, they do get a chance to eat healthy and do not need to cook.

On a final note, dear friends and family, please understand that a tournament costs money. We pay an entry fee, travel expenses, and accommodation. So getting DQed because of missing weight is an enormous expense without any reward. Please have this in mind during a final couple of weeks of a tournament prep. This is the time when grapplers cut weight and a burger is actually a big deal because it can derail our whole progress.

Would You Take It Easy With Laundry?

Let’s put it this way – no one likes to have another person’s smelly garments on their face. We already sweat profusely while training so keeping a clean Gi is the least we can do. Not because anything else, but because we wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of one.

From a different standpoint, a clean Gi means good hygiene. Bad hygiene has the potential to result in bacterial or fungal contamination, or worse, an infection. These kinds of infections are transferable, meaning they can transfer to close family or roommates. So we wash the Gi for ourselves, our loved ones and our partners. It makes more sense why every day is laundry day now, doesn’t it?

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Free Time

This one partly relates to the weekend nights out, and class frequency that we covered before. Apart from going to class, we do enjoy spending time watching instructionals and/or Jiu-Jitsu matches. The average length time of an EBI event is around 3 hours. Yes, we seem anti-social and often try to skip social activities in order to watch BJJ related material. It could be worse though. We could be hooked on weekly sports events such as football. SO it is better to spend a couple of hours twice a month than every weekend right?

No, I’m Not Interested In Lifting Weights

Although we do enjoy the occasional strength and conditioning session, especially while preparing for competition, we’re not gym rats. We can be friends without spending each day dedicated to a different body part, right? Because we like to get our workouts on the Jiu-Jitsu mats instead over barbells. Strength training is like homework for most BJJ people – we do it, but only when we must. After all, you do not really enjoy sweaty people crushing you, so why would you presume we enjoy “the pump”?

Aren’t You Injured?

Yup, this one is hard to understand. Actually, you might be right on this one. We probably shouldn’t train unless an injury clears up completely, but it is hard. Minor injuries are often overlooked by BJJ athletes before they inevitably become major ones. Even then, we look for all kinds of excuses to get on the mats. For example, I’m only going to do position sparring today. Or, I’m only going to do light drills and come right back home.

Let’s do another deal here. We’re going to stop complaining about everything that hurts (which is basically, everything) at home. You, on the other hand, are going to let us get over our injuries on the mats. Unless they’re really serious and we’re being stupid about it. Then, you’ll need to tie us up, Or even better lock us in the basement.

To summarize, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu really is a lifestyle for us. We would love to be able to share it with you, but if you’re not into it we understand. So, please try and understand us, because our lives would be empty without BJJ. After all, we’re in it for the long haul, so get comfortable because you’re riding with us!

This article is from my LOVELY FRIEND KITT CANARIA from JJT.
KITT, you are my sunshine! My only sunshine! You make me happy when skies are grey! You never know dear how much I love you! So, please don’t take my sunshine away!

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