Do you remember some of the misconceptions you had about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when you first started?
Initially, were you a skeptic at how effective it might be? For me, I literally had no idea what I was getting into with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but overtime after talking to my teammates and other practitioners and others about BJJ, I have come to realize there are some common jiu jitsu misconceptions.
1. “BJJ is like Karate”
Because Karate is popularly used as a blanket term for martial arts, particularly the stand-up martial arts, it’s somewhat different. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there are no “katas”, “hyungs”, or “forms” (patterns of technique) that you must learn before being promoted to the next belt level.
BJJ is more of a ground-based martial art than it is stand-up. There are no “kiais” in BJJ. BJJ is based around joint locks and submissions than striking. This is not to say there is no striking, there is no stand up, but three are some significant differences between the arts.
2. “BJJ doesn’t work”
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has proven itself through the creation of the UFC. With time and proper training, just like any other martial art, it can be an effective method of self-defense. In Mixed Martial Arts, you have to train some form of grappling to be a well rounded martial artist. You may be a striker, but you must know take down defense and escapes if you ever find yourself on the ground.
Time and proper training, people.
3. “BJJ isn’t for everyone”
This is my personal opinion, and it may not be for everyone, but I think it has the opportunity to be something to everyone. It just depends how you let it. We all train for different reasons. It can be a competition outlet for the high level athlete that can’t play college sports anymore. But, someone who may have never played sports before, may never see it that way and may see it as a hobby. And that’s okay, it just depends how you are nurtured. Every student is different and has different needs and personal goals.
It’s not only the instructor’s responsibility to understand this, but also the student’s responsibility. Students can quickly let egos get in the way and start comparing themselves to other students. This can be detrimental to progression.
I believe some people let fear stop them from stepping on the mat, when if they just gave it a try, they would find it to be empowering. It’s just a matter of giving it a chance and giving it enough time to see the change. You can’t just try one class and say it’s not for me. But that’s just how I see it.
4. “It’s easy”
I think sometimes people look at jiu jitsu and think it’s easy. Just pin another person down and try to hold them into submission. But, what people quickly learn is that a skilled practitioner can easily flow between positions and link techniques together. It takes time to build the skills, and even though movements can come easily to some, it is still a challenging art, mentally and physically. It takes a lot of courage to step out on the mat, it also takes a lot of perseverance to stay there, especially tap after tap.
It’s definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done!