The Fascination of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I’ve been doing two hours of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu per week for a little more than two months. I’ve been really enjoying it so far.

At the beginning it made me sore, it made me frustrated, it made me so incredibly exhausted every time. The first couple weeks I felt nervous and even a bit of dread before going.

But probably by the third week I was starting to look forward to it. That’s partly the case because already by that point our numbers were starting to thin out and we were left with a smaller group of people that I’ve really come to like, and we have lost some of the more adversarial, competitive, perhaps insecure people that weren’t as fun to work with at the beginning.

Partly it’s because I started to get the hang of it and figure out how to conserve my energy and use my strength more strategically. So I at least wasn’t so exhausted anymore every week.

For me, I think a big part of it is a combination of confidence in the discipline, and enjoyment of learning. It’s fun to learn, but less fun if you feel like you’re working hard to learn something that’s never going to be useful or relevant.

I feel like this stuff really is timeless in a way, not at all something I will learn once and it will never be good for any possible situation again. I feel like if I was attacked on the street and I got pushed over onto the ground, these skills would be directly relevant. I feel like if I got into a time machine and was entered into a wrestling competition in some ancient Greek polis, what I’m learning would be directly transferable to that context. So I feel like I’m learning something that will be perpetually available and potentially useful to me.

And I’m learning so fast! I think that’s the biggest factor for making BJJ fascinating, and no one seems to talk about it. I haven’t done grappling like this since I was probably like six years old, at a friend’s house one time when we got mad at each other. There is so much to learn, so much low-hanging fruit. Just by going to a place with mats on the floor and rolling around with some other folks who want to learn the same sorts of things, the learning curve is exhilaratingly steep. It’s so easy to learn fast, and the experience is overall an enjoyable one.

People say once you start doing BJJ you can get a bit addicted to it. I always wondered why. These are some of my own first thoughts on the subject.

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