Very Secure

Jiu Jitsu

This week I decided to give Jiu Jitsu a shot.

I have tried the martial art once before. About two years ago I messaged an old friend, Tom, asking to catch up. He responded by inviting me to train with him in his gym.

Tom and I use to wrestle as kids. His dad was in the military and into boxing, and was always pushing Tom to develop his fighting skills. I remember Tom would usually get the best of me, and I distinctly remember being punched in the face as he was demoing new boxing gloves.

Given our rivalry and fighting history it was fitting to meet up in a gym. Didn't know what to expect, but I knew Jiu Jitsu was a martial art that has proven itself useful in the UFC.1 Jiu Jitsu is a grappling sport, like wrestling, where no punches or kicks are allowed. The fight goes until time runs out or one contestant is able to force the other one to submission. One usually gets a submission from his opponent by putting him in a choke hold or by putting him in a compromising position where a large joint2 can be broken by applying force with leverage.

What makes Jiu Jitsu interesting is that you can practice sparring with near full commitment while maintaining a lowered risk of injury compared to other martial arts. You can be choked several times in a session, maybe even pass out, and still be able to train the next day. Imagine sparring hard in boxing, where one punch can send you to the hospital and cause permanent brain damage.

In my first session with Tom I discovered that it is thus common in Jiu Jitsu to roll3 several times with various opponents at the end of a class. Awesome. What a rush to fight against Tom and various strangers all the way to "the death." I was smoked in all my rolls, but I left the gym feeling alive.

I've signed up for one month of Jiu Jitsu classes at a local gym. I plan on training three days a week. I have no illusions that Jiu Jitsu will one day save me in some street fight. But perhaps training in Jiu Jitsu will help me build up discipline and lead me to a healthier lifestyle. In any case, despite the disgusting smell of sweat and the physical pain experienced during a roll, it feels great to fight.

  1. The UFC has exposed other martial arts - such as karate - as being ~useless in anything resembling a real fight. []
  2. Attempting to break small joints such as those in the fingers is banned. []
  3. Rolling is the Jiu Jitsu term for sparring. []

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