When you first started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you likely expected to get in shape and learn some of the slick submissions you watched your favorite UFC fighters execute on TV.
Little did you know that you would get totally hooked on the BJJ lifestyle and culture – a culture that includes forming close friendships and bonds with your training partners.
Your friendships will start from partnering up for classes and then grow to meeting up for food and drinks after training.
After a year or so, you will find yourself watching every UFC card with your BJJ friends, traveling to tournaments together, and becoming best friends with the guys and gals at your gym.
Here are 5 reasons your BJJ training partners are your best friends.
Some people have fishing buddies while others have friends who love the same bands.
You and your BJJ buddies have jiu-jitsu. You will bond over trying out new techniques on each other, helping each other prepare for competitions, and sharing a niche interest that only you and they truly understand.
Let’s face it. You can’t exactly discuss heel hooks or Nate Diaz’s profanity-laced victory interview with Phil from Accounting.
So be grateful you found friends who share your love of BJJ and martial arts.
Each class or roll, you are basically trusting your well-being and ability to provide for your family with your training partner.
You also find out a lot about a person during training. Are they considerate of your health? Do they give you equal reps during drilling? Are they the annoying coach who keeps giving you pointers?
While you won’t be friends with everybody, chances are you will form a trusting bond with a group of training partners who you can depend on to show up to class, train safely, and help you get better at the gentle art.
Training is a bonding experience
Brazilian jiu-jitsu isn’t easy. The warm ups can be brutal and round after round of training can leave your body hurting and gasping for air.
Suffering and growing together is a bonding experience, though. That is why law school study groups, military training classes, and pledge classes in sororities and fraternities become life long friends.
Your best BJJ friends will be out there sweating, grinding, and heaving with you for a number of years and you can’t help but build a fondness and respect for your brothers and sisters on the mats.
You see each other in vulnerable moments
Friendships show their true colors in difficult moments.
In BJJ, there are many moments of vulnerability including: getting injured, losing a match in a tournament, getting frustrated, and physically and mentally breaking during a match or training.
At these points, your ego is stripped and everybody sees you for who you are and still accepts you.
In society there is so much bravado and BS where people are scared to show any vulnerability. In BJJ, there are daily opportunities to be humbled and vulnerable and you find out where you truly stand with those people.
In most cases, you will be picked up and supported by your training partners and friends.
Jerks are filtered most of the time
Eddie Bravo has said that “BJJ is a filter for douche bags.” The nature and structure of BJJ has a way of filtering out most of the cocky, arrogant, or difficult people.
Some people can’t accept instruction, take care of their training partners, or deal with constantly losing during the early stages of training.
There is a food chain on the mats where if you are a white belt bully, an upper belt will put you in your place. If you walk in thinking you are a natural at every sport or used to be the alpha tough guy, you likely won’t be able to handle the 130 lbs computer programmer choking you out in 30 seconds.
Thus, mostly cool and chill people are left on the mats for the long haul.