BJJ / Grappling: Why I train jiujitsu?

Some say they train because jiujitsu is great for their body. Some cite the art's self defense value while some others have a "jiujitsu lifestyle" addiction that only gis and rolling around can address.

I have always known why I train. I've not, however, always been able to express it in words perfectly.

I've always said I train because I want to feel like a super hero. That's still true. The gi is my cape. But I know there's more to it.

Tonight my wife and I were relaxing at home. We were watching the 2005 blockbuster King Kong, the story of a journey from New York City to the ominous Skull Island where an adventurous crew go to film a new movie. Actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), is whisked away by the monstrous ape, Kong, after they reach the island.

A crew member, Mr Hayes, said something regarding the main character's fascination with the mysterious island that I felt captured why I train martial arts in general, and Gracie Jiujitsu in particular:

 "We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there - there you could look at a thing monstrous and free."

I believe this is why we we fascinated with fighting arts and the close-quarter nature of mixed martial arts and Gracie jiujitsu. They put us, if ever so briefly, face-to-face with the apart of us that has been too tamed by living in a civilized society. On the mat, we can look at a thing monstrous and free.



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JiuJiu said...

Hmmm interesting. I like your "I want to feel like a superhero" statement - it made me smile. I'm not totally sure I understand the tamed/shackled monster analogy. Are you saying that we are part of a "polite society," and we must act in ways that are contrary to our animalistic natures - and jiu jitsu allows us to tap into that?

I have had on my radar for some time this notion that fighting arts (muay thai, jiu jitsu, boxing) are one way modern men can tap into that "manliness" in a way that civilized society does not generally allow. As a lady practitioner, I don't fully grok that, but do agree it allows us to work out some aggressions in a way that are normally not permitted.

My love is more simple to describe. I love the struggle. Both partners are struggling for dominance, and now I have tools to more effectively do that. Plus, who doesn't love aggressive cuddling? :)

Liam H Wandi said...

Beautifully put. Let me clarify:

In the movie, the character says "We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there - there you could look at a thing monstrous and free." and I believe the operative word is "look".

In everyday life, we make choices. As a teacher, my number one roll is to encourage children to make right choices. To honestly and truly examine life thru the lens of choice and make choices.

The problem is, we often don't really "see" what we are choosing.

I see children, who then grow into adults, who have never been allowed to truly examine what right and wrong mean.

I'm not even talking about "act in ways contrary to our animalistic nature". I am claiming that our society, upbringing and education deter us from an early age from even thinking about or examining what this nature is, "aka look at a thing monstrous and free".

My mother, dad, teachers...etc. have always been keen to deter me from thinking about violence and its consequences.

When someone makes one of the kids I teach, or even many adults I know, really REALLY angry,you can see that person fuming and ready to unleash some serious harm. But, in the best cases, they don't and then they resent that. They carry that anger within and never examine where it comes from or how far it can get if they DID set it free.

I think jiujitsu allows us to understand fighting. It has truly made me hate it. I really hate violence and seeing youtube clips of two people fighting out of anger or whatever makes me sick, because I have seen a thing monstrous and free thru the lens of jiujitsu.

It's not even about manliness to me. I once heard of a group of drunk women beat the living snot out of a man I know. His face was all swollen and deformed for weeks after. Literally within an inch of his life. They had AFAIK never closely examined their own feelings and what violence is and how ugly it is. I am pretty sure part of them would feel great shame and disgust if they were to view pictures of the victim afterwards because it is so alien. Without true martial arts training, we never really examine this ugliness.

I hope I, and everyone else, never face violence. If I do, however, it wouldn't be for the very first time and it's all thanks to jiujitsu.

Andrew Calandrelli said...

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