Read below to learn about “problems” new students and life long students run into. LEARN how to CURE these situations!
We are all on a similar journey
People from all walks of life practice Jiu-Jitsu and people at different points in their life enter into Jiu-Jitsu for different reasons. In the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of observing and guiding individuals and families in their Jiu-Jitsu experience.
Although we are vastly different when we start Jiu-Jitsu, we form into a similar mold over time and wind up becoming something comparable to a “family.”
The training and personal connections created in a BJJ Academy, ignite a fire inside of our students. A fire that is driving them to become the best versions of themselves.
But for some, the journey becomes difficult over time because of a disconnect between the practitioner and their family. If you do not focus on certain steps and understand some important procedures, your passion for Jiu-Jitsu will start to fade and it will become very difficult for you to do what you want.
The THREE following disconnections can make for a “bumpy ride”.
- Spousal disconnect.
- Children disconnect.
- Family disconnect.
The spousal disconnect
Adults enter our school on a regular basis and quickly become “hooked” on Jiu-Jitsu. This can be a weird time for the spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend at home.
We must realize…
YOU before Jiu-Jitsu, is different from the NEW YOU after Jiu-Jitsu. This is tough for them to grasp. Now they have to get used to you being away at night, being focused on something else, developing new friends, and creating new lifestyle patterns. These are all positive things, but to someone who isn’t completely involved, it can be alarming and shocking.
As a BJJ student, don’t be arrogant to the fact that the spouse at home doesn’t understand everything Jiu-Jitsu is.
They aren’t doing it, they aren’t around it, and they don’t get it. At best, they are completely annoyed and frustrated with this new “crazy” adventure and probably equate it to a mid-life crisis.
I don’t blame them. I used to get frustrated until I took a step back and put myself in their shoes.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is a progress. Working together is a SUCCESS!” – Unknown
- Introduce them to BJJ classes. This way they can FEEL the effects themselves.
- If they don’t want to do or don’t like Jiu-Jitsu, bring them around social functions that involve your teammates. They will befriend them and also understand what amazing people Jiu-Jitsu students are. The art BREEDS humility and respect. Two pillars of social effectiveness.
DO NOT push Jiu-Jitsu on them. DO NOT force them to watch every UFC or every YouTube video that you enjoy.
Connect them with the art or connect them with the people. I guarantee it will turn the bumpy ride into a smooth one. They will understand WHY you are always training!
The children disconnect
How come Dad/Mom aren’t home EVERY NIGHT anymore? All of a sudden, you aren’t there. They wonder why. They are confused. It creates an imbalance and will most likely put your training to a halt. They are engrossed in their youth activities and are used to YOU being engrossed in their activities, now you have your own activity that takes focus off of them.
Obviously, you are doing your best to not let your new hobby interfere with your home life, but your spouse will be frustrated with the increased workload with the kids and your kids are upset that Dad/Mom isn’t home. It’s a tough change. Humans do not generally like change.
- Bring your kids to the gym to hangout.
- Bring them to Jiu-Jitsu classes.
- Play Jiu-Jitsu at home with them. (Notice I didn’t say “train”, make it a game.)
- Tell them stories of Jiu-Jitsu history that make the arts founders out to be like superheroes.
- Do not allow it to be an activity that YOU do alone. It needs to be something that you tell people “WE do.”
If you allow this disconnect to manifest for too long, your path through the art will be a tumultuous journey. It is a part of your life, make it a part of theirs.
I am sadder me when I see a student quit because of family. I have realized that it is more likely a lack of family involvement.
“That which a man willingly shares, he keeps. That which a man selfishly keeps, he loses.”– Unknown
The family disconnect
” Are you still doing that Karate stuff? ”
Most BJJ practitioners have heard this question on more than one occasion from more than one family member. The question isn’t annoying, it’s the tone that they undertake while saying it. Almost saying it in a way that makes you seem like you are engaging in a childlike, immature activity.
How are they supposed to know better? They don’t know what Jiu-Jitsu is and they suddenly see their mature, adult, relative, starting up something that they relate to kids.
The disconnect grows stronger as you get frustrated by their lack of understanding with what you love. It eventually turns into you shutting them out from conversation regarding Jiu-Jitsu and avoiding the topic at all cost.
- When they ask you about your “board breaking.” Laugh. Explain and educate them on the difference. If they ask more questions, give more answers. If they aren’t interested, don’t be interested in getting them interested.
- Teach them something that showcases the “Magic.” Do this in private or bring them to a class. Don’t make it too painful, make them feel powerful.
- Bring Jiu-Jitsu people around. Let them see the good nature for themselves.
Involve them. In some way shape or form. Them getting involved with classes is only one way. Involve them on it physically, socially, and emotionally. All parents, all spouses, and all relatives would be in THEIR GLORY if their loved ones participated in similar activities. Don’t let the opportunity slip away.
Get them connected to the art. If that doesn’t work, connect them with the people.
If you want to do Jiu-Jitsu forever, remember, your family and friends do not understand what you are doing. Just like you are taught. Teach them. Don’t give up. They will love it and that will make your life much easier, stress free, and happy.