It’s OK If You Don’t Miss Jiu-Jitsu Right Now

Tight guard passing is an essential skill in BJJ.

If you’ve chosen or been forced to refrain from training due to the coronavirus outbreak, you may be one of the many people watching instructionals, stretching or doing solo drills at home, and figuring out how to do spider guard on your kid’s stuffed animals.

Or you may be one of the people who received that news with mild indifference. You were sad about the gym closing, of course, but it wasn’t the end of the world. You checked out a few technique videos, but found that you weren’t really interested right then. It wasn’t that you didn’t love jiu-jitsu — you just didn’t need it right at that second.

Jiu-jitsu gives us a lot, but it also takes a lot out of us. It’s exhausting to train hard and wake up sore every day. When you have a busy schedule, you give up moments with your family or otherwise free time to squeeze in some rolling. It’s a ton of laundry. It’s a ton of pain. It’s a ton of sacrifice.

Sure, it’s all worth it, but it’s also ok to spend this forced break from jiu-jitsu taking advantage of doing the things you miss out on because you train. Learn a new skill or take on a new solo hobby. Spend quality time being lazy with your partner or playing with your kids. Read books you’ve wanted to read and binge-watch that show you’ve wanted to see, but haven’t had time to watch. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not dedicated enough if you’re not doing whatever you can to train, especially when you see people around you finding every possible way to include jiu-jitsu in their mid-pandemic lives, but really, it’s ok. Your life doesn’t have to revolve around jiu-jitsu in order for jiu-jitsu to improve the quality of your life.

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What began as a two-week shutdown period for many gyms is likely to last much longer. If you so choose, you’ll have time to solo drill and watch instructionals and use your pillow in a gi as a training dummy. Regardless of how severe this outbreak ends up being, we are experiencing something that no one alive has ever been through. You are likely being forced to spend time at home for an indefinite period of time, and if your work is considered “essential” right now, you’re probably exhausted. Be kind to yourself.

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While those who stay active and keep drilling in whatever way they can will likely have some kind of advantage over those who switch to a sedentary, BJJ-free lifestyle, everyone in jiu-jitsu is going to see their training take a hit right now. If training in whatever way you can is making this time easier for you, then do it. But if you think your mental health would fare better by setting jiu-jitsu aside for now and using your time in self-isolation to accomplish something else (or nothing at all), remember that jiu-jitsu will be waiting for you when things in the world are a bit less hectic and contagious.

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