It ain’t for self defense.
Give me a solid year, and you will not be losing your lunch money to some average Joe. Honestly if you trained hard for a few months, I’d put money on you in a street fight. People don’t stay for 6 years to avoid a mugging.
It ain’t for fitness.
After a year, people’s bodies are transformed. Hell, in a few months they are changed. Honestly, we instill a fire for training that actually COSTS us students. I can’t tell you how many people actually train with us, and LEARN confidence. Learn courage. Learn to strive. Then take those newly developed traits and crush other fitness interests. We’ve produced the base athletes that have gone on to CRUSH totally unrelated fitness activities. Crossfit coaches. Ti-Athletes. Ultra-Endurance. Olympic Weightlifting. All of them….. totally unrelated to BJJ. And yet The Academy was the turning point. But my point is that people don’t stay for just the fitness. A determined person can get fit ANYWHERE. That’s not WHY they stay for years on end.
It ain’t for the fun.
As anyone passionately pursuing an art can tell you…… The honeymoon period doesn’t last more than a few years. No painter struggling to get the image on canvas is having “fun”. No dancer failing the new move over, and over, and over again, is smiling. No lifter missing lift, after lift, after lift is having a grand old time alone on that platform. And so it is in BJJ. The struggle of diminishing returns. After a few years….. The improvements are hard fought milometers, punctuating miles of failure. Fun isn’t why people stay in for a decade.
Because…… Everything I am IS from BJJ.
Anyone that knows me, knows my character IS my identity. Every fiber of my being was shaped in this place. How I see the world. Who I am inside. My character. My honor. My loyalty. All made on the training floor.
My ability to learn. (And, I pride myself as an avid learner.) My passion for learning….. My SKILL at learning was born in a martial arts school.
Even my non BJJ life is because of BJJ!
All of my dog training breaks. I am going around the country teaching dog training workshops. That skill in presentation wasn’t from the few years as a dog pro. It was from the three and a half decades spent helping people in martial arts. That’s where my teaching skills were honed.
Every single relationship was born from this mat. Directly or indirectly. My Wife. Literally all but one of my friends. (That will be a JJU trivia question later). Everyone. Came from the mats somehow.
It is literally woven into fiber of my life. My being. Not being on a mat would be like not being able to breathe. Would feel like missing a body part. A best friend.
It has become so woven into the fabric of my being that there is no way to unravel.
It is my family. My heart. My soul. My home.
I owe every single thing in my life to BJJ.
And………. Not once has that ever needed to be the reason I was there.
That’s not WHY I’m there.
It’s why I love it so much, I couldn’t see being anywhere else.
That’s why we stay long term.
That’s why almost half our students have been there over 5 years. Some for 10 or more.
Our mats are our souls.