Jiu jitsu changes lives for the better by encouraging beneficial personality traits such as honesty, diligence, and overall awareness.
It forces a person to inspect themselves in an honest way and encourages them to reach beyond their current limitations. Jiu jitsu also provides a healthy and mindful lifestyle. For instance, I didn’t start keeping track of what I ate or how much protein I was getting until after my first BJJ competition. Pivotal to this lifestyle is a set schedule, which consistent training partners will help maintain by keeping you accountable.
How BJJ changed my life
Five years ago, I didn’t train in martial arts, was trapped in a web of despair and self-destructive behavior, and had a less-than-realistic view of myself and others. After years of consistently training, I noticed that my anxieties started to melt away as did my need for validation from others. I was content with myself and what I was doing for the most part, and if I wasn’t, I at least knew I was on the path of improvement.
Jiu jitsu taught me that it is beneficial to push myself past my comfort zone. When I first started training, I had no interest in competing. While I enjoyed training all the time, the very thought of putting myself out there in such a public setting terrified me. My coaches and teammates made me realize that discomfort breeds growth, and although I had no desire to compete, I did want to get better at jiu-jitsu. Reflecting on this later, I’ve come to realize that fear of failure/humiliation is something that has held me back in many facets of life.
How I strive to translate lessons learned in training to everyday life
While it is difficult, even in training, I try to not let fear dictate my actions. While fear might sometimes keep us out of trouble, it’s my belief that fear is also a deterrent from greatness. Similar in principle to this sentiment is the Latin proverb “Fortune favors the bold.” The most direct similarity I’ve experienced in my training is in kickboxing sparring, where in order to land a successful strike, you must open yourself to getting struck yourself. The same could also be said for grappling, but the metaphor seems more immediately accessible in a striking sport.