I know it is something that a lot of people who train would like to happen. Their partners gets the BJJ bug and starts training too.
How much easier would that make things?
I thought I would provide a few balanced insights from a man who’s wife also trains.
The good side
1. It does make holidays together so much easier. If I turn round to my wife and say “for the holidays how about a week in New York and we can train at Marcelo Garcia’s whilst we are there?” My wife instantly agrees with that suggestion. No need to convince her that she can enjoy herself, while I disappear for a couple of hours at a time.
2. Your house will get overtaken with air drying gis, but no one complains. Yes having gis hanging around drying and it is a pain. But not having to hear complaints about it and actually having someone who will help fold them up and coordinate the washing is really helpful.
3. You can watch any streaming events on the main tv as your partner is interested too. Being able to watch things like Metamoris and the World Championships together is great but its even better when you get food and actually make a night of it together.
4. Your partner totally understands your need to lose weight on the run up to a competition. In fact its really helpful as she’s probably trying to eat clean too so meal planning is way easier, there is no tempting with deserts and your both looking forward to the post comp cheat meal!
5. You don’t get harassed for getting home late. She understands that you don’t just leave the mats. Theres the chat about how things went in a roll, sharing tips and of course cooling down etc. Although it does mean she’s just as likely as you to be late home too!
The bad side.
1. Training together can sometimes cause friction. Each time I have rolled with my wife it has ended in potential divorce. I’m 50 pounds heavier than her and I’ve been training a few years longer than her. Despite this she is also the most competitive women I may have ever met. Our rolls have triggered some heated discussions based on a mixture of angles ranging from how I approached the roll through to her ferocious attempts to dominate me. Obviously these have all been resolved but we also don’t roll together too often either.
2. If you are both trying to lose weight at the same time, the hunger arguments can cause problems. It is bad enough not letting your grumpiness spill out when you are trying to lose weight for a competition. But when you are both going through this, it is inevitable that friction will arise.
3. If you start play fighting, it will turn into a full on no gi roll if you are not careful. Things can escalate way to easily. It starts off with a bit of a play fight and next thing you know your wife has the underhook, which naturally I defend. The next thing you know your defending a sweep attempt and starting to thing of your next transition.
4. If one of us medals and the other looses it can get hard. Don’t get me wrong your obviously pleased for your other half but it can make things more trickier. Your other half on that high that winning can only bring, whilst you want to just go into your cave and lick your wounds. It obviously is also difficult on the reverse as your trying to not “rub” your success in and be supportive and helpful knowing your other half is feeling down when realistically you want to celebrate!
Finally this isn’t a good or a bad but but something to consider and that is ensuring you have your own space and experience . Whilst BJJ has brought us together and given us a wonderfully varied social circle spending so much time together and sharing so much can be slightly claustrophobic for a relationship. Its partly for this reason my wife deliberately chose to train at a different academy. Yes this can cause additional stress over training times, comps and seminars, it does have the benefit of us being able to come home at the end of the day and talk about our experiences (as we didn’t see them first hand). It also means that we have our identities within the sport. She is known in her gym in her own right and not as my wife who started training. It also has the bonus in that she has developed her own game and picks up a whole host of different moves which she can share with me. For someone people there is only one gym that they can train at or its there idea of heaven to spend so much time together but for others it may not work. If your other half does want to start training find our what she wants from the experience. Whilst the draw of training holidays and BJJ 24/7 will alway be appealing its important to take the time to workout what will work best for you both. BJJ is a very individual journey so why is there going to a be a cookie cutter approach for training as a couple?