Building a Community in Jiu Jitsu
By Jo-Lynn Kahala
Building a community is a big part of jiu jitsu that adds so many benefits to your journey.
In the sport of jiu jitsu, the match comes down to you versus your opponent. You shake hands and begin a tough match to determine who is better at the sport.
Although it may sound like a singular sport, it is quite the contrary. Because behind you, is your professor(s) coaching your next move, your teammates screaming words of perseverance and maybe even some friends you met abroad cheering for you through your instagram live feed.
All these connections and more are what build a community through jiu jitsu. Although I am a mere purple belt, I have found a community through jiu jitsu that has added so many benefits in my journey.
This post is all about the benefits of having a community in jiu jitsu.
1.Your Gym Becomes a Second Home, Teammates a Second Family
Jiu jitsu brings people together from all walks of life and all regions of the world. At the core of your jiu jitsu community you will find your teammates and professors. These are the people closest to you who you train with regularly. These people will be with you by your side as you are enduring aches, pains and endless rounds. The highs and the lows.
There is something that brings people together when experiencing the daily struggles together. It’s like, hey, we’re in this together! Similar to the bond you build within your family, you build a bond with your teammates and professors. You laugh, cry and grow together.
Your jiu jitsu gym becomes your second home. You walk in and see these people who share not only your passion for jiu jitsu, but also the daily struggles and joys of training.
- Your Community Holds You Accountable In Your Jiu Jitsu
Having a strong community in jiu jitsu also helps hold you accountable towards your goals and aspirations.
It’s not always easy to make it to training. We have so many things going on in our lives that add obstacles to getting on the mat. Some have kids that they need to tend to. Some have jobs that leave them exhausted after a long day.
I found that when I was tired after a long day of work, I would text my favorite drilling partners “Hey, you training today?”
Sure enough, they were. And sure enough, I would show up to training.
When you find teammates and fellow members of the BJJ community who understand you and care for you, they’ll hold you accountable to your training. They’ll check in on how your training is going. They will push you when you are rolling, knowing that you are preparing for a tournament. They will root for you or call you out on your slack.
They make you want to show up. They make you want to be better.
- A Jiu Jitsu Community Can Also Take Place Outside Of Your Home Gym
One of my favorite things about the jiu jitsu community is that it is generally very welcoming!
A lot of gyms welcome visitors to open mats to connect and practice rolling with different people outside of their teammates.
In Hawai’i, we only had so many teammates to train with. Even more so, we only had so many females to train with! Visiting other gyms allows us the chance to meet others that might be able to offer different training, tips or perspectives than our home gym.
I’ve also built so many connections from traveling. Whenever I travel, I usually have a gi with me so that I might be able to visit a jiu jitsu gym. I have also made a lot of connections and friends from people who visit my home gym too! It’s so cool to connect with people outside of your home gym, share stories and have fun rolls.
With the help of social media, it makes it so much easier to grow your network in jiu jitsu. And usually, those connections are supporting your jiu jitsu online!
If the opportunity presents itself, I hope you practice getting out there and connecting with people outside of your home gym. Growing your jiu jitsu community can only help you grow in your jiu jitsu journey.
There are so many benefits to building a community in jiu jitsu. I listed out a few that I have experienced through my journey so far. I hope as you grow through your journey, that you find a community that helps build and support each other. Because jiu jitsu is hard, but it makes it a lot easier if you have support to back you up. Building a community in jiu jitsu truly makes the tough practices bearable, the triumphs glorious and the journey so much sweeter.