We often hear the phrase Jiu-Jitsu Changed my life or Jiu-Jitsu Saved my life. We often agree and support these phrases blindly without ever really looking at the vast ways the art really does impact us. While Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t necessarily become every practitioners “Job” and not every practitioner opens their own Jiu-Jitsu gear line it still does change us in many ways. I want to talk about the top three ways I have seen Jiu-Jitsu change people’s attitudes, perceptions and all around way they live their life. This is not to say that there are other impacts but rather this is just going to be based on my own personal experiences within the Jiu-Jitsu Community.
First I want to start with something very basic that is impacted by Jiu-Jitsu, Health&Diet. As many new white belt come in they quickly realize that the huge Double Cheeseburger they just ate isn’t getting them anywhere. Jiu-Jitsu often makes people re-evaluate their diet because poor eating habits lead to fast gas-outs and an overall worse performance. While many people begin to eat healthier the exercise itself also helps us shed fat and reduce our risk for many diseases. As you can clearly see Jiu-Jitsu in general leads to an increased health as a generality in more ways than one.
P.S.S (Problem Solving Skills)
Second I want to dive into a more complex subject which is more of a life skill we learn. Jiu-Jitsu is all about problem solving. From the beginning we are put in tough situations and are forced to learn how to defend and counter. Then we come in the next day and have a whole new set of challenging positions to deal with. Although this is very abstract I believe this skill is normally also carried into our day to day life as well. We become more patient dealing with hard situations and more comfortable expressing ourselves and working with others. I can say from personal experience that since beginning my Journey I am a lot more comfortable dealing with adversities and staying true to who I am and what I believe.
Lastly I want to talk about a related topic, but is just a little more abstract and deeper in meaning. The last and most valuable way Jiu Jitsu Has impacted my own life is in dealing with fear. Many people go through life denying their own fears and never living up to their true potential. We deal with fear in more than one way in Jiu Jitsu from fear of never becoming worthy of the belt we hold to fear in competition. I want to focus on the competition aspect for now. In any gym I would say about 10-20% of the members actively compete in tournaments. Why is this number so low though? Ask anyone who chooses not to compete and they will give you a laundry list of reasons they don’t compete from I am too old to I can’t train enough to I don’t want to get injured to I only practice for self-defense. While these reasons and more can be very legitimate for many they are most certainly not true for 80% of the population. The real reason most people choose not to compete is they allow fear to control them. They are simply afraid they won’t perform well or they will lose. I want to focus on the population that doesn’t allow fear to control them. We learn to face our fears through competition we accept our wins as well as our loses and we come back no matter what. There are many ways competitors deal with their fear, but my point is simple ; we choose to face them. I believe that yet again this skill is transferred to other areas of our life. We no longer let fear dictate what we decide to do. We take chances in our activities and our life. We go for what we want and know that it may or may not work, but we try. In the words of one of my favorite speakers (Greg Plitt) “Fear can either create you or destroy you”.
As I have shown Jiu-Jitsu Truly does change many aspects of our life’s. To name a few we become healthier, we develop better problem solving skills and we learn to deal with fear. So Jiu-Jitsu truly can Change our life. –Kris Reid