Jiu Jitsu is a sport with positive, life changing potential. The benefits range from weight loss to building self-confidence to being a positive outlet and the list never ends. But it is also a very difficult sport with very real challenges. These are a few things nobody tells you about jiu jitsu-
1-It’s going to make you cry. If you do it for any length of time, I promise you at some point, it will make you cry. Yes, men to. It doesn’t mean you aren’t tough or can’t handle it, odds are it just means that you care so much about it that a big part of your emotions get wrapped up in it. It’s normal, it’s ok.
The first time I had a conversation with a teammate about this my initial reaction was “Nonsense, I love this sport, it’s my favorite thing to do, why would it make me cry?” Less than three months later I was lying flat on my back, burying my face in my gi trying to stop the tears that were tumbling into my tangled mess of hair that had been yanked and pulled out of my pony tail. And I’ve cried many more times since then. This is not just a female jiu jitsu player issue, I have plenty of male training partners who talk openly about the times they’ve cried over jiu jitsu. It means that you’re learning something new about yourself and your game.
2-You’re going to think about quitting. I’ll admit, after a few classes with really intense rolling that leave me a bit more beat up than usual, I wish I was in love with a less…demanding sport. Let’s face it, this is a pretty demanding sport if you are going to take it seriously. It demands a very real time commitment, a sometimes very high physical toll, and unending levels of patience. Ultimately at some point you are going to ask yourself why you love jiu jitsu so much. You’re going to ask yourself why you pour so much of your time, mental and physical energy into it.
Just because you think about what it would be like to quit does not mean that you will. Remember why you started and read through some of your old jiu jitsu notes. Get some perspective and see how far you have come. (Side note- this is also why it is a good idea to keep notes or a jiu jitsu journal so that you can go back through them)
3-You’re going to lose some friendships. When you catch the jiu jitsu bug and it starts to become a bigger part of your life, you’re going to want to share it with people. You will start having less and less in common with the friendships you have developed outside of jiu jitsu. You are going to start skipping outings with non jiu jitsu friends in favor of training and a healthier lifestyle. Things like tournaments and seminars will become a bigger deal to you and you will want to be with people who share your enthusiasm. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, you will stop paying as much attention to non jiu jitsu friends.
The bright side of this is that you will make some of closest friends you will ever make in your jiu jitsu teammates. The longer you do jiu jitsu, the more they will seem like a second family.
You might say that this list doesn’t apply to you, that you enjoy your jiu jitsu just the way it is and to that I will say- Great!! You SHOULD enjoy your jiu jitsu journey the way it is because it is uniquely yours. Jiu jitsu will change you life… don’t say I didn’t warn you…