Three Things I Learned on My First Day of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Our kids have been training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for the last few months. In just a few months, they’ve learned various offensive, defensive, and submission moves. They are levels more prepared to defend themselves, and others, if they need to.

We’ve spent the last few months coaching them, taking notes of the techniques in class, and practicing with them at home. Spending a few months watching someone though, doesn’t make you good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). You will not develop muscle memory from watching, however, you will have a mental image of the technique.

After a few months of watching and coaching at home, Jen and I decided to try out BJJ for ourselves. BJJ just looked so fun, the rolling, throwing, physical combat paired with a chess mentality of thinking 3 moves ahead. BJJ really is human chess.

Three things I Learned in My First Class

  1. Be careful who you mess with. The Professor of the school is a Black Belt, of course. To what degree I do not know yet. What I learned rolling with the Professor, is that there are people out there who can actually kill me, without even breaking a sweat or breathing heavy. My Professor is one of them. I am not at all below average in my defensive capabilities. I am former military, have studied martial arts in the past, and I am physically fit. In your average street fight, I’d have pretty good odds of coming out on top. This Jiu-Jitsu instructor can literally choke me to death without even engaging his entire body in combat.
  2. Your size only matters to other noobs. I am not a huge guy at around 180 pounds and 6′ tall. I am, however, big enough and muscular enough to push my way with other noobs, more so with people as new as me. That is about as far as I can muscle my way through. With the more experienced guys, what actually happens is that they allow me to muscle my way into being completely tired and helpless. It is at this point, that they perform some lightning fast submission. Luckily they are still really nice guys, each checking my condition afterward, and talking to me about where I strategically screwed up.
  3. Stretch. As I was laying there gasping for air, I could feel a strong pinch in my chest muscles. I had strained my muscles and ligaments along my rib cage. The pain was intense and a week and a half later I still have not fully recovered. Stretching is important for preventing injury, no matter what exercise you are doing. BJJ maybe more so, because entering this world of pain forces your body into poses you probably would never find yourself in, outside of an all-out street brawl. Your muscle tissue and organs have to learn to handle the stress and you can either shock them, as I have done, or welcomed them into the world of BJJ. I would advise you to choose the latter.
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