If you’re reading this, it’s probably because one of your weird jiu-jitsu-obsessed friends has finally convinced you to try a class at their gym. “It’s awesome!” they said. “You’ll be addicted to it in no time!” they said. Well, they weren’t lying. Jiu jitsu is one of the best things you can do for both your mind and body, and if you get to chatting with someone who does it, you’d better be prepared to get your ear talked off about why you should give it a shot.
What your friend probably hasn’t mentioned, though, is that jiu jitsu isn’t all fun and açaí. If you want to learn armbars, triangles, and kimuras, you’re going to need to suffer through all the gross and frustrating stuff first. If you think you can stomach these parts of the sport, you’re one step closer to getting your black belt.
1. You will have butts in your face.
But why stop there? Your face will also be spending some quality time with your teammates’ crotches. And if you have women at your gym, get ready to be suffocated by someone’s boobs. But whether you think that will be awesome or horrifying, you’re wrong. In jiu jitsu, body parts are tools, and when you’re rolling, your focus will be on what you need to do to win. When you’re just starting out, some positions might seem a bit awkward, but over time, you’ll be pretty nonchalant about sweaty people sitting on you.
2. You’re going to suck.
Most people go into a new hobby assuming they aren’t going to be champions from the get-go, but some people aren’t prepared for just how much they’re going to struggle when they first start BJJ. Those who have never done martial arts (or maybe even any kind of sport at all) often get frustrated with how easily their opponents flip them around and submit them, and wrestlers in particular have a hard time when they see that many of the techniques they learned throughout high school and college don’t apply in this kind of wrestling. Unfortunately, many newbies drop out before they even have the chance to get good, not realizing that literally every person that kicked their butt was once in their position. No matter how terrible you think you are, keep going. You’ll thank yourself when you look back a year from now and see how far you’ve come.
3. It’s going to hurt.
You probably expect to feel the soreness that comes with any type of intense physical activity, but that’s not the kind of hurt I’m talking about. Despite being called the “gentle art”, jiu jitsu is hard on your body. You’re going to come home covered in bruises and groaning about aches that you swear you’re too young to have. You’re going to have mat burns on the tops of your feet and calluses on your knuckles from gripping gis. And at some point, you’re probably going to learn the hard way why you should tap before it starts to hurt. But after a while, all of that pain is going to start to feel good… in a weird sort of way. After all, those aches and scars are the price you pay for being a warrior who chokes people out with their own arms.
4. You’re going to be a walking DNA sample.
Even if you don’t sweat a lot, you’re going to leave the gym soaking wet. Even if you’re bald and have white peach fuzz on your arms and legs, you’re going to find curly black hairs on your body. In fact, some of that sweat and hair will probably find its way into your mouth at some point. Let’s not forget the blood, because yes, there will be someone else’s blood on you eventually. Jiu jitsu is a contact sport, and that means you’re going to have to make contact with some of the nastier stuff that can be found on and in the human body. If you’re a germophobe, you’ll either run screaming from the gym midway through your first class, or you’ll grow to shrug it off when you find someone’s leg hair between your teeth.
5. There will be farts.
Some of them will squeak out of your teammates in the middle of class, and some of them will come from you. Even though it’s never not funny when someone blows their biological trumpet in the middle of an otherwise silent room, passing gas in the middle of jiu jitsu is really a non-issue. Your digestive system has bigger things to worry about than holding in a toot when a 200-lb man pushes his knee into your belly, and your teammates know this. The first time and the hundredth time it happens to you, laugh it off and resolve not to eat broccoli before training next time.