Dating a grappler, in reality, is just the same as dating anyone else. We all have little habits that may seem strange to non grapplers.
But it is worth being prepared, for that may be different you anything else you may have experienced.
I have come up with a list of a few of the things that will make any prospective partner understand us a little better…
The first strange thing you will encounter is the discussions about gis. What is so special and different about all the gis they have? Apart from the colour they all pretty much look the same. Well to a BJJ practitioner there are a lot of differences, cut, fabric and patches to name but a few. Some of the gis will be prized possessions. You don’t have to fully understand the reasoning, just be aware that it will happen.
Food is a big thing as part of the jiu jitsu lifestyle. A lot of practitioners clean up their diets. Cutting out processed junk food, so they have more energy for training. Plus if they are a competitive practitioner, they will have to make weight. This may be a rocky time for the relationship, depending on the amount of weight to be cut. There may be a period of grumpiness as they try to make weight for an up and coming competition. If it does happen be aware this is by no means personal and they do not love you any less, it is just the hunger grumping. Just look forward to the massive cheat meal after they’ve competed.
Your other half will probably end up rolling with the opposite sex at some point. If your other half is female she will definitely end up rolling with guys who are in pretty good shape. BJJ by it’s nature involves a lot of close physical contact. The reality is its totally not sexy. Its sweaty, sometimes smelly and frequently uncomfortable, the last thing your partner is thinking about in positions is how “hot”it is. In fact the only daydreams you have about training partners in any position is usually how could you escape, prevent the submission or tap them!
Just be secure in your relationship and trust your partner, quizzing them isn’t going to be helpful. But do go to competitions and support them, go to gym socials, introduce yourself and make friends. Being part of BJJ family is a great way to grow your social circle, with what are usually really good people.
How do you know them?
This links into the last point. BJJ is a massive international family. You can make friends all over the world if you want to. This can be odd when your other half is randomly talking to people (both online and in real life) and you have no idea how they know them but it does make the world your oyster. Going to a new town – instant tour guide, friends, places to train and even advice on the best place to stay and eat.
Be prepared that your partner is likely to want to get a little training in even on holiday. Due to the popularity of BJJ and the network of the BJJ Community, it is relatively easy to do a shout out for clubs to train at around the world. So don’t be surprised if your partner packs a gi when you are going on holiday and disappears for a couple of hours.
Catch the bug
Be aware if you date a grappler long enough there is a good chance you will probably be tempted to see what all the fuss is about. This is what happened with my wife after years of talking about training, she eventually tried it and now competes and really loves training. It makes holidays awesome!
Ultimately dating a grappler will mean you are dating someone who is happy because they have found something they really enjoy. This does have really positive effects on your relationship. If you can get used to the the minor amounts of strangeness, you will be dating someone who has very little ego, a positive outlook on life and you will know where they are nearly every night of the week.