Three Reasons You Need to Find a BJJBFF (BJJ Best Friend Forever)
Here’s a newsflash, Jiu-Jitsu is a tough pursuit. There are a million easier ways to spend your time – binging the latest season of Stranger Things, cruising through Facebook, or simply getting a good night of sleep devoid of the aches and pains of a hard training session. Yet if you want that black belt or a gold medal or simply looking to shed a few pounds…as the saying goes, “When motivation fails, discipline takes its place.”
We’re all human, though. As another saying goes, “No man is an island.” Even the most disciplined person needs a bit of help. That’s where finding a BJJ Best Friend Forever (BJJBFF) becomes invaluable.
Here are three reasons I’d recommend finding a BJJBFF as soon as possible:
1. Joining a Jiu-Jitsu academy is an intimidating proposition. In its essence, there’s a mat full of individuals (likely with more training than you) actively looking to put you on your back and pass your non-existent guard before choking you or bending your limbs in unhealthy directions. As we eyeball each other at the beginning of class – resembling a scene in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – it’s nice to find a friendly face; someone to share inside jokes and who asks about your dogs or your job or what you’re doing this weekend (I mean, besides Jiu-Jitsu). Having someone there that you look forward to seeing is one of the first steps in making a Jiu-Jitsu academy a place you want to frequent.
2. Jiu-Jitsu is infinitely complex. There are a million techniques to learn. Further, there’s no textbook, roadmap or template for getting better. So how do you improve? An easy answer, keep showing up. There’s more to it though. Many times it feels as if you’re the proverbial monkeys banging on a typewriter, hoping to luck into a masterpiece. So how do you stop the heavy pressure passer who grinds their head into your chin or figure out why your go-to sweep isn’t working anymore? For me, having a BJJBFF to share techniques, drill moves, spitball ideas, drill moves, evaluate competition matches, and drill moves sped up my learning curve.
3. Jiu-Jitsu wears you out, both physically and mentally. There’s a reason why millions of white belts end up quitting and why people write about training plateaus. If you’re like me, you can’t turn to a coworker and explain why Marc’s passing is still giving you troubles, even though you know exactly what he’s going to do. There’s only so many times you can complain to your wife (if you’re lucky) that a ref totally robbed you of a gold medal. You know who almost never tires of those rants? A BJJBFF. It’s because they’ve been there. They have their own Marc and their own badly called matches.
What is a BJJBFF? It’s the teammate who texts you during the workday to see if you’re attending evening class. They’re the first person to hug you after a tough match – win or lose. They’re the ones that split ice cream and pizza with you after a successful weight cut. In short, they’re the person that makes your Jiu-Jitsu journey a little easier by simply being there for you.
I’m fortunate. In my time at Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu a number of teammates have filled that role, but it all started with Matt Shand. He’s my BJJBFF Alpha and Omega. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have lasted this long (purple belt and still steadily training) and I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed the journey as much.
Tom is currently a purple belt at Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu in Atlanta, GA under Sam Joseph. In his free time he enjoys travels with his wife, Jiu-Jitsu, and better incorporating the two.