BJJ / Grappling Community: The Social Capital of BJJ

Social Capital* is a very VERY important thing. Well, it's not a thing, but rather...well you'll see what I mean.

I just read an article about how books are incredibly (or some other OTT adverb) important for children and don't get me wrong, some of my happiest memories as a child involved me reading or being read to, but the genius of the article was in talking about the Social Capital involved in buying your children (or adults, including yourself) books.

The article defined Social Capital of books as the time and energy it takes to seek out books and then read them, a calm environment to read them in, an awareness of where to get books and how to choose a good one or two rather than get overwhelmed by variety on offer. I would like to add to that the value of becoming a book-reader and knowing other book-readers. Basically, the value of a car is a lot more than just the practicality of getting from A to B. It enables safe and convenient travel, storage space, romantic (or otherwise) getaways, status symbol, social object...etc.

By buying your children books, the article suggested, you are also signing up to a healthier lifestyle where you are involved in a process that enriches your child's mind and yours too, if you embrace and let it. Sounds familiar?

While it is possible to simply join a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club, gym or academy, squeeze in your two sessions a week and let that be that, you will miss out on all the fantastic benefits you'd get from investing more in the social capital of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lifestyle:

-learn more about diet and nutrition and what kind of food has what effect on your performance, mood and general health

-learn more about auxiliary training such as yoga, swimming, running and even zen meditation and how those aspects of training Jiu Jitsu can change your physical and social life to the better

-buy a BJJ-T shirt. Let people know you as Jeff-who-does-karate-guy-who's-also-lost-weight-and-seems-more-confident rather what's-his-name-the-accountant

-attend an event, be it a BJJ seminar, a grappling competition or even an MMA fight, with some of your gym friends. One of my best experiences are from travelling to such events with like minded people

-try to apply the principles of jiu jitsu in every aspect of your life: leverage, timing and above all move-yourself-not-your-opponent. Maybe then you will realise that there are no opponents and that we are all one.

*The definition I borrowed from the article looks at one of the many aspects of Social Capital. If this interests you, you can check it out here on Wikipedia.


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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1 comment:

Combat Sports Review said...

Excellent article and so true. I would also like to add the more socially invested you are in BJJ, the more likely your are to stay with it and make it a life long commitment. Thanks for reminding me of these priceless benefits of training with a team.