What Jiu-Jitsu Has Taught Me
Jiu-Jitsu means something different for everyone. For some, it might be a hobby. It might be your way to wind down after a long day of work. Maybe it’s your social outlet. It might be your lifestyle, and you spend every waking minute training, thinking about Jiu-Jitsu, or watching Jiu-Jitsu videos. It could even be the way you are recovering from a traumatic experience. Whatever your goals with training, Jiu-Jitsu has some life lessons to share with us all
In Jiu-Jitsu, we sometimes encounter situations where we are under intense pressure. For example, being stuck in a bad position, forced to defend a submission attempt or down on points with only seconds left in a competition. In those moments, Jiu-Jitsu teaches us to breathe and retain our composure. We learn to find peace under pressure. We learn that, even in some of the bleakest positions, we can still find a way out. And sometimes, if we are patient and don't give up, we can use this pressure to produce something incredible. I have learned that sometimes the most uncomfortable times are the times when I experience the most growth. This lesson is applicable to life because often times when things are not going my way in life, I find the pressure of having my back against the wall drives me to the greatest successes in my life.
Jiu-Jitsu teaches us about perseverance. Jiu-Jitsu training is hard. Yes physically, but mentally as well. At times the mental aspect of Jiu-Jitsu is much more challenging than the physical side. You experience frustration, and some days you want to quit. Through Jiu-Jitsu, I learned to push through the hard days. I learned to be patient with myself and my growth process. I learned to never give up, even when the going gets tough. I learned that things always get better, and hard work always pays off.
Jiu-Jitsu teaches us to appreciate the moment. It can be easy to get caught up in your goals or the tasks that need to be accomplished. Sometimes we get so focused on what’s ahead of us that we forget to focus on the small moments day-to-day. Jiu-Jitsu gives us the opportunity to forget about our to-do lists for a while and just enjoy that hour or two on the mats. It lets us let go of our stresses and just live in that moment. I’ve learned to treasure each training opportunity and try to enjoy the little moments of learning on the mats.
Jiu-Jitsu teaches us how to lose. Nobody likes to lose. It is no fun. However, to improve in Jiu-Jitsu you must put yourself in situations to lose every day. Training with more experience or talented training partners. Doing specific training starting in a bad position. In training, you lose a lot, especially in the beginning. Every day, in fact. You learn how to brush off a loss. You learn how to be a gracious loser. You learn how to get knocked down and get back up every time. The most important thing you learn about losing from Jiu-Jitsu is how to take the loss and use it as a way to improve. To study your loss, why, how and what happened. Take these lessons and use them to propel yourself to the next level. A loss doesn’t have to break you; it can become an opportunity to learn and become better.
Lastly, Jiu-Jitsu teaches you that sometimes you need to hold on, but you also need to know when to let go. In training, sometimes it’s important to hold on very tight. You make your grips and don’t let them go. You grab onto a submission and cling to it for dear life. However, sometimes it’s possible to hold on too long. Sometimes you keep a grip, even though your guard has been passed, and you end up in an armbar because of it. Sometimes you need to be willing to release a grip in order to gain something even better. I’ve learned that, both in Jiu-Jitsu and in life, you need to figure out when to hold on tightly, and when it’s time to let go.