After playing hockey all my life through college, I kept in shape by running, biking, and swimming. I look back on those years with regret. What a waste of time! I am not one to denigrate other sports, but if you are a runner, biker, or swimmer, you fall into one of three categories:
a) You have never been introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the best damned sport in the world, and I feel sorry for you.
b) You are too soft to participate in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the best damned sport in the world, and I pity you.
c) You are a loser, and deserve to die in a fire. (Also, I can beat you up)
Top Ten Reasons Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Is The Best Damned Sport In The World
1) BJJ Will Get, and Keep You in Great Shape: I was going to make a joke about how fit and muscular I have become since training BJJ, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve been fit and muscular since infancy, in small part due to my mother’s insistence on nursing me with protein shakes. Now that I’m in my 30s, I have a low heart rate, great cardio, and have functional (rather than vanity) muscles. I am staying in shape doing something I love rather than running on a treadmill counting down the minutes until I can quit.
2) BJJ is Mentally Engaging: It is my personal philosophy that genuine fulfillment in life comes from complexity of experience. Trying new things, meeting new people, working in different capacities, learning, going places, etc. The more deeply we fall into a rut of pattern, the more the doors of our perception are slammed shut, and we end up sleep walking through this short life on earth.
Endurance sports and weight lifting are like playing tic-tac-toe compared to the chess that is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s not just the fact that there is so much to learn that it takes 8-10 years to get a black belt, it’s that those who earn their black belts are still learning. “Mastery” is subjective, but is so elusive that only a small percentage of practitioners will attain it.
3) BJJ is Fulfilling on a Primal Level: We are hard wired as human beings to be active, rather than sitting around all day staring at glowing rectangles, yet this is what constitutes a majority of our time awake. Under that outfit of business casual and social mores lies an animal that wants to inflict damage on another human being. Unfortunately, in order to maintain social order, we cannot routinely punch people in the face that we do not like. We can, however, pit ourselves against each other in a forum that limits the potential of injury, yet enables some of that inner animal to express itself.
4) BJJ is a Brother/Sister Hood – This sport is a great way to meet interesting people from all walks of life. At a recent tournament, I asked someone from my academy what he did for a living. Paparazzi. Imagine that! He sneaks around and takes pictures of famous people! I’ve trained with pilots, dentists, actors, mechanics, professors, entrepreneurs, deadbeats scraping by on grant money, engineers, bankers, science teachers, writers, High school through College students, Canadians, criminals, chefs, military dudes, and (unfortunately) lawyers. I’ve trained with people of different ethnic groups, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, and political philosophies. I would not rub shoulders with many of these types of people were it not for this sport that brings us together.
5) BJJ is Competitive – We all learned from the box office smash, “Red Belt” that “Competition weakens a fighter,” and the lessons of Red Belt should not be taken lightly, particularly the importance of intellectual copyrights, and the rarely used, by highly effective back flip counter to defend the rear naked choke.
Red Belt wisdom aside, competition motivate people to become better, clarifies who is better, and enables one to recognize holes in one’s game. Competitions suck. The nerves, Brazilian refs, dieting, sobriety, time and energy, not wearing your athletic supporter, burning out your grip, getting gouged on obscenely high competition fees, losing, letting people down, sitting on bleachers until your ass is more sore than your burned out grips, driving long distances, competing two hours past your scheduled time, and that feeling you get after watching endless white belt matches that makes you want to go home, take a shower, and wash the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu off of you. On the flip side, winning is fun, and there is usually a shiny object awarded.
6) BJJ Enables You to Roll Around on Mats, Wearing Pajamas, With (Primarily) Sweaty Men – Name one other sport in which I can bury my face in another man’s crotch, and it is considered a legitimate technique. (Feel free to email if you know of one)
7) BJJ is Better Than Any Other Martial Art – See UFC 1-4.
8) BJJ is Combat/Self Defense – Just as it is good to have a game plan going into a competition, it is also good to be prepared for a physical altercation with a fellow citizen on the street.. I’m not looking for a fight, but if I got into one, I would double-leg to heel hook until the poor citizen’s knee was destroyed beyond repair, and then I would run away before the cops arrived.
9) BJJ is From Brazil – Thank God BJJ was invented in Brazil rather than, say, Somalia or Chechnya. There are so many fascinating and wonderful things about Brazilian culture. Did you know, for example, that Brazilians hate Argentineans because Argentina is filled with Nazi sympathizers and other deceitful troglodytes?
One of the things I love most about Brazilians is their unique combination of jokiness/machismo, and their ubiquitous thumbs up. Brazil is not, however, without its problems. Most people have heard of the notorious favelas, but what many people are not aware of is that it is next to impossible to find decent sushi in Rio, which is a sad commentary on this emerging nation.
10) BJJ Mitigates Existential Angst– At a certain point in our lives, we have to come to grips with the inherent meaningless of existence. It falls on each of our shoulders to defiantly pursue a life of meaning in this world of emptiness and isolation. Perhaps your meaning is found contemplating the beauty of the natural environment: A waterfall. A young doe munching on clover. A night so clear you can see the dustiness of the Milky Way. Perhaps your meaning is found playing Pogs™ for keeps. But I find meaning in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the best damned sport in the world.