At Gracie Miranda we have a community composed of all types of people from all over the Sutherland Shire. But we still get a lot of inquiries from people who want to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but worry that, for whatever reason, they can’t.
Some think they’re not tough enough. Others think they’re not strong enough, quick enough or in shape enough.
If you’re reading this and you’re interested in Sutherland Shire martial arts classes, we have good news and bad news.
The good news is that none of those attributes will stop you from learning and excelling at Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ is a learnable skill set — it’s a simple matter of getting rewards out by putting time in. Persistence and perseverance are more important than athleticism and aptitude.
The bad news? Being truly perseverant is hard. Jiu-Jitsu will test this.
The Gentle Art
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has a nickname: The Gentle Art.
It’s named that because, compared to other martial arts, it relies less on physical athleticism and more on technique. Of course, we’re not saying that arts like boxing or Muay-Thai aren’t technical. It’s just that weight, power and speed can be huge advantages in these martial arts in a way that they’re not in BJJ.
In Jiu-Jitsu, a smaller, weaker and slower grappler can defeat a more athletic opponent with ease — if their technique is sharp enough.
So if you’re in the Sutherland Shire and are interested in learning self-defense skills at Gracie Miranda, don’t worry about your physical attributes. We often hear from people interested in martial arts classes who fret that they’re not in shape enough to sign up. But you don’t get in shape to do Jiu-Jitsu — you do Jiu-Jitsu to get in shape!
BJJ is a fantastic full-body workout. A big reason why is because sparring, or “rolling” as we call it, is such a significant element of every class. You’ll spend at least 20 minutes sparring every day you come to Gracie Miranda. Sparring is particularly intensive in Jiu-Jitsu since there’s no striking. Though you will learn takedowns, there’s minimal slamming, too.
As a result, it’s possible to safely spar at near 100% intensity. In other words, 20 minutes of sparring is a much more rigorous workout than it sounds — and it’s on top of the warming up and drilling you’ll do earlier in class. But you don’t have to spar intensely all the time, and indeed learning good defence often means exerting as little strength and power as possible. In alternating between attack and defence, Jiu-Jitsu is a hard workout that you can cater to your own fitness level.
But, for the same reason that it’s an excellent health and fitness activity, Jiu-Jitsu can also be rough on the ego.
Stick with it
It’s true that BJJ is complicated. There are dozens of positions and hundreds of techniques. Learning and mastering them is a slow process. Tempering your ego throughout that process can be difficult.
Because Jiu-Jitsu is so focused on sparring, it’s natural that you’ll compare yourself to those you roll with. You’ll feel bad if you’re submitted by someone of a similar skill level as you. You’ll feel even worse if it’s someone you used to be able to beat. You’ll even feel down if someone with less skill gives you more trouble than you think they should. This is a dangerous game.
It’s important to remember that you should only compare yourself with your past self. Comparing yourself to others makes sense if you want to be a professional martial artist. But it’s a recipe for despair for the hobbiest grappler.
There are two negatives to succumbing to your ego. First, you’re more likely to emotionally burn out and want to quit. Second, it makes you more focused on winning than on learning. Jiu-Jitsu is about learning and applying new techniques. It’s impossible to do this successfully without failing a few times first. The more willing you are to fail, the quicker you’ll learn.
This mindset is a skill. Like any other skill, it comes easier to some people than to others. But it’s as valuable a skill as any you’ll learn on the mats.
So don’t worry about how many push ups you can do or how long you can run for. If you’re interested in learning a martial art, and learning techniques for the mat and for life, come into Gracie Miranda for a free trial class.