Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jiu Jitsu Is (Or Can Be) Selfish

I recently spoke to one of my friends who is moving back home and coming back to train with me at Jason Scully's academy. He was previously training full-time; he trained three times per day and competed all the time. He trained at Jason's for a long time, but left with Jason's blessings after finding an opportunity to train full-time and compete as much as he could.

I spoke with this friend online and he said that he realized he didn't want jiu jitsu to be his entire life. He will always want jiu jitsu to be a big part of his life, but not his entire life. He told me there are so many things he wants to do and see, and training full time gets in the way of that. Training that much often doesn't allow you the opportunity to go to school, see your friends/family/significant other much, work a regular 9-5 job, or even go out and eat/drink if you're watching your weight for a tournament. Most likely, you're probably very tired throughout the day because of training and don't even have the energy to do a lot of those things.

It becomes more difficult to relate to others as you let jiu jitsu take over your life. I find it very hard to relate the intricacies of jiu jitsu, the fun and rush of competing, the thrill of learning new techniques, or even just explaining why certain jiu jitsu matches are exciting (because let's face it, unless you train, watching competition footage is definitely a "WTF is that, I don't get it" moment for a lot of people) to people who don't train. It's hard for others to understand why you've chosen not to go out and drink that night or why you're forgoing the dessert so you can make weight. Because for others, it just doesn't make sense. Most people who play sports after college are doing so in a casual recreational league atmosphere where people are balancing their lives with their activity of choice, not balancing their sport with their lives, as is done in BJJ.

Now this isn't to say that it isn't possible to work and go to school and still train full-time and be successful. Pulling Guard Zine recently published an article that shows Justin Rader's schedule. He works 40 hours a week, goes to school, trains, does strength and conditioning, and is one of the most successful BJJ competitors in the country and the world! So is it possible? Yes.

But my main point here is that jiu jitsu is/can be selfish. Training and competing primarily benefits yourself. You're constantly focusing on your own progress, strength, health, and mindset all as it relates to jiu jitsu. For those who work 9-5 jobs, practice is often soon after work meaning he or she doesn't get home to the family or significant other until late. You do, of course, end up building a strong school or team because your hard work pushes others on the mat, but in terms of your relationships off the mat, jiu jitsu certainly takes away from them to a certain degree. Of course, many other things in life can have this effect, like a job that requires long hours, but I think most people are more used to balancing something like a job (which is more necessary and financially beneficial, unless BJJ is your job).

I also recently noticed that jiu jitsu pushed out some of my other hobbies. I rarely pick up my guitar anymore, or read a new book that isn't martial arts related. I've been making a conscious effort to bring these things back in to my life and balance them with training. Reading has been the easiest one since I have a 1.5 hour commute to work each way!

So am I saying jiu jitsu is bad? That you should quit because of these aspects? No. But I am saying this "selfish" aspect of it is something that I've noticed and have tried to keep in mind.