It’s the format to a question many of us have heard or read at some point: “I’m ______ and ________. Should I try jiu-jitsu?”
Fill in the blanks with whatever characteristics you choose: “old,” “small,” “fat,” “a parent of twelve.” There are a lot of people out there who aren’t completely sure that the gentle art of chokey-breaky is for them. And to be fair, as much as we like to preach that it is, jiu-jitsu isn’t for everyone. But there’s no need to disqualify yourself before you give it a try.
Jiu-jitsu is a shockingly adaptable martial art. Young children and senior citizens alike can be found on the mats. The freakishly athletic 21-year-old may be tearing it up in competitions, but busy parents who don’t have time for more than a class a week can still find relief on the mats. Para athletes can succeed both in their goals at the gym and in competition. People of all genders, cultures, and backgrounds train, and while many do eventually fade away, plenty of others make it all the way to that coveted black belt and beyond.
Obviously, there are some health conditions that make jiu-jitsu dangerous or extremely physically difficult. If you have an existing health concern that you believe would cause difficulties or harm to you if you started jiu-jitsu, talk with your doctor before you come try it out.
Most qualities, though, aren’t dealbreakers that decide whether or not jiu-jitsu could be for you. There’s no right or wrong time to start; plenty of beginners are very overweight and out of shape when they walk in the door. You’re not too old or too small or “too” anything. Somewhere on your BJJ journey, you’re likely to meet someone remarkably similar to you, and you’ll realize that you were anything but alone in starting your journey despite being _____ and _______.
Look, come in and try a class. If you don’t like it, you never have to go back. But if you’re right on the edge of taking a trial class and the only thing holding you back are your assumed limitations, take the leap and do it anyway. At the least, you’ll never have to wonder “What if?” At the most, you’ll end up with a fun hobby that helps you form goals and friendships with people who are both just like you and nothing like you at all. Everyone you’ll ever meet has their own “_____ and _______” they have to contend with when they start something new. If you summon the courage to just try, even once, that in itself is a victory no matter who you are.