When I scroll through my Instagram feed, I can’t help but chuckle at the sight of so many jiu-jitsu posts. I’ve been training for 3 years now and it still comes as a surprise to me – I do jiu-jitsu? Yes, I do!
I was never an athletic person. I enjoyed sports, but I was never any good at them. When you’re a teenager being overweight and awkward when it came to sports, you’re more likely to be teased and taunted than praised for your effort. Needless to say, athletics was not the route I followed. Eventually, however, I did end up on the mats — and boy do I feel incredibly fortunate that I did!
Doing jiu-jitsu is not easy. I have many days when I am filled with doubt or I leave the mats feeling deflated about how I performed that night. However, those moments are just part of the learning process. What I gain from my training goes way beyond the technique — and definitely translates to my life beyond the mats.
I’ve had to get through a few obstacles when it came to my training. From my own hesitations to criticism from others, it has not always been the smoothest journey. However, I stuck to my practice and it is paying off.
This quote from Rener Gracie describes what I want to say best:
His description is spot on.
My jiu-jitsu training focuses on street self-defense. This means that we practice the art with our primary focus being that of protecting ourselves. It’s no use knowing how to do fancy joint locks on the street if it leaves you open to be punched in the face! So, we practice a variety of techniques, but we always make sure we are punch-safe first. To reinforce this focus, we often train with gloves on. The purpose is not to strike each other, but rather to demonstrate to our partner where they at risk of getting punched. Even light taps to the face make you aware of where you are vulnerable. Knowing that you are continually working to tighten your game by literally defending yourself against punches is an incredible confidence boost.
In addition to training with gloves, we grapple together. I still find grappling quite a challenge, but I’m trying harder to face the intimidation of going up against bigger, stronger opponents. It’s putting myself in those vulnerable, intimidating situations that will only help me work through my hesitations and continue to build my confidence.
Training is not easy. It takes hard work, dedication, and constant practice. However, the reward is priceless. I’ve gone from not knowing what to do if someone was on top of me and had my wrists pinned to the ground to being able to react to and escape from that situation in a split second. Without a doubt, knowing that I can defend myself gives me confidence.
Having confidence means that I walk straighter, I look forward with determination, I am not hesitant in my speech or my actions. I move forward, despite setbacks. I look for solutions when faced with a problem. I remain eager to learn and continue my practice with humility. I believe that type of confidence also makes others see you as trustworthy and dependable. Once you start to feel the positive impact of your training in this manner, you don’t want it to stop. That’s when you start to take strides towards becoming a better person – a better sister, a better daughter, a better wife, a better friend.
The price of jiu-jitsu lessons may be $100/month — but the lessons you gain are priceless.
Links to other posts in this series: