Chasing the high
Those of you who are jiu-jitsu nuts, and chances are that since you are reading a jiu-jitsu blog you might be (although obviously the high quality of my writing has universal appeal), have most likely run into a situation where you have found yourself trying to explain to someone why you love jiu-jitsu so much. For those outside the sport, trying to understand why a friend or loved one has become so obsessed with BJJ can sometimes be tricky. I mean let’s face it, BJJ is kind of gross. You roll around on a floor, get covered in other people’s sweat, get choked, have someone try to break your limbs and then of course there is the phenomenon of the mystery hairs.
So I think most of us can agree that it might be hard for someone to understand the appeal of jiu-jitsu. But what about you? Do you, the jiu-jitsu head, understand why you love it? I often find myself at a loss for words when trying to explain to one of my friends why I love BJJ. I usually say something about it being the most physically and mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done but I really can’t find an explanation to encompass all that is BJJ. I typically give up, shrug my shoulders and move on. I know BJJ is awesome and if they can’t understand it, that is their problem.
A training partner and I were discussing this last week. He said that he, a person who is well-established in his job, often has trouble making people understand why he risks injury, denies himself sugar and bread and comes to work banged up all so that he can train jiu-jitsu. I mentioned that I also have a hard time explaining the appeal of jiu-jitsu and maybe it is because I can’t even really explain it to myself. He then said “well if you think about it, jiu-jitsu is our drug, we are constantly chasing that high”.
The high he was referring to was that feeling you get when you have a good roll. Not a good roll meaning you tap someone but the type of roll where your body is doing things that your mind doesn’t know it could. Hopefully you have experienced a roll like this. If not, hang in there and keep training because eventually you will. I will attempt to explain it although I am sure I will fall short. It is as if your mind transcends the conscious plane and becomes one with your body. It taps into something primitive and primal and instead of thinking about how your body should respond to a given situation, your body just knows and reacts.
It’s a glorious feeling. And I have no idea how to make it happen. I have tried to figure out how to reproduce this state of rolling. I wear the same gi, the same rash guard, I eat the same thing, I listen to the same music but alas it doesn’t work. My mind remains on the conscience plane and thinks things like “oh you’re in side control, that sucks” instead of helping my body get out of it.
So I take myself to class night after night, searching for that elusive high. As the time for class approaches, my blood starts racing, I can’t think of anything else and I just want to run into the gym hours before class and start training. If you think about it, it makes sense that we train to achieve this primal level of rolling. Haven’t we all been told that we have to drill something until it becomes instinct? This is how your mind and body become one and jiu-jitsu becomes an art.
So while I don’t think that comparing jiu-jitsu to a drug is an explanation that is going to make my friends and family feel any better about how much time I spend training, it does help me to explain it to myself. Maybe I’ll think of a more socially acceptable way to explain it soon. How about you guys? How do you all put into words all that is awesome about jiu-jitsu?