On why I chose jiu-jitsu

This is going to be a somewhat personal post. We’re gonna talk about ground karate today, and why I thought getting on a mat with a bunch of sweaty dudes was a good idea.

I chose jiu-jitsu because I needed a way to be able to defend myself. I’m 5′ tall, 95 pounds, and objectively speaking, no matter how big a pocket knife may be, I’m pretty defenseless. Having people around me to improve my feelings of safety and security is never a given. Not to mention I currently live by myself, away from my family in one of the most dangerous counties in Maryland.

Again, in certain situations I am helpless. When I was a freshman at Maryland, a random stranger picked me up, threw me over his shoulder and started walking away with me. Even though I was kicking and screaming, everyone (other than my friend who saved me) thought it was a joke. When I’m approached at bars, I am often completely disrespected– some guys really don’t understand the meaning of the words, “no, leave me alone.” Just last year some weirdo from a math class tried to give me a drink that was drugged. Sometimes there’s only so much a bouncer can do. And bouncers aren’t there for the times when you’re walking home alone. Just two months ago, a stranger followed me into my elevator, and into the hallway on my floor. He seriously asked me to come inside my apartment. No, thank you!!!!!

I was initially interested in Krav Maga. But Krav Maga, like many other forms of martial bjjarts, has no set standard across the board. So many schools teach it differently, and the ones I came across taught it as more of a cardio workout than any kind of martial art. I then considered Muay Thai. And while this is one of the most epic forms of martial arts (in my opinion) it would still leave me defenseless if my opponent were able to get a hold of me or bring me down to the ground. That left jiu-jitsu, also known as “ground karate.” And if you ask me, it was the perfect choice.

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetIf you don’t know what Brazilian jiu-jitsu is, it’s a form of martial arts that focuses on grappling and submissions from the ground. And the coolest part about it is that a
smaller/weaker fighter can defend themselves against someone who is bigger and stronger by having better technique– exactly what I was looking for!

I train at Lineage BJJ in Rockville, Maryland. Since I only started in August, I really only go to basics class. And since I’m so busy, I try to make it at least twice a week, although let’s be honest, sometimes life gets in the way. My instructor is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. He’s an amazing teacher. He caters to all the different ways people learn, whether it’s by watching or by doing, and instead of making things easy for you, sometimes he forces you to learn by figuring things out on your own. Basics class starts at 6:30pm and runs until 7:30pm. We learn and drill for the first 30 minutes, and then spar in situational positions for the next half hour. You are literally forced to put your knowledge to the test and see what you learned. Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

I’ll go into all of the benefits and things I love in another post, like having some of the most awesome teammates, making friends with some of the most amazing people I would’ve never met otherwise, and how nice it is to have a hobby of my own where I can take out all my frustrations. But what I will say is that I feel ten times more secure walking the streets alone, and I feel confident in my ability to defend myself if need be. BJJ is also by far the BEST workout I have ever gotten in my life. And it’s not only physically taxing, but mentally intensive, too. There’s a reason it’s known as physical chess.

For all of you guys who have always been interested in trying it for yourself, I implore you to take a class! See if you like it. Why not, right?

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