My mats are packed with people with not much in common, except BJJ!
I am proud when I look around the mat and cannot find many similarities in my students. Some are lawyers, some are college or high school students, some are skilled labor, some are in tech, and others are in the military or are LEO. Our adult classes range in ages from 15-50 years-old and are comprised of men and women of all races and ethnic backgrounds. What brings us together and binds us a tight group? Passion. We are thirty plus individuals with seemingly little in common, except for our passion for learning.
The desire for self-improvement is as old as civilization, but in modern life we don’t always get that opportunity for growth in our jobs or day-to-day routines. Some address the physical side of self-improvement with running, working out or the new fitness trend, but that only satisfies part of our need. We also share a desire for intellectual expansion. I don’t know a better way to improve physically while at the same time expanding intellectually than BJJ.
Some would categorize gamers as a particular type of nerd, and athletes as jocks, and separate the two groups. There is a whole genre of teen movies that reinforce this absurdity of the musclebound machines vs Einstein’s spawn. Wrong. We don’t need to choose between brains and buff because this martial art bridges the divide. I’ve got science to prove that statement because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is science. BJJ uses bio-mechanics and physics to allow average people to become amazing. At the same time, BJJ is a very learnable skill when enough attention is applied.
That said, level of instruction and structured learning is vital to self-improvement. I have been to many gyms in my 16 years of training. I have been in that gym where everyone wants to fight; I have seen boys’ clubs that are run like frat houses; I’ve been to the clubs where instruction isn’t a priority, but every roll is friendly and class ends whenever. Thankfully, I have been fortunate to have had amazing instructors and masters that challenged me personally to achieve at a high level while maintaining structured classes. This is important because the class is for everyone.
Now, I am proud that to run an academy with people from all walks of life, but when class starts we are all one, growing and learning together. Finding your passion is one of the most profoundly significant things in life. The right passion gives us a purpose outside of our everyday obligations, reduces stress and builds overall mental and physical health. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to be a top-shape UFC killer, a hip jock, or a science genius to flourish in BJJ. You just have to be humble, step on the mats and let Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu do its magic.