I’ve been training Jiu Jitsu for almost 10 years. Throughout that time, my training has remained relatively consistent and constant. Aside from a few minor injuries (mostly sustained from non-BJJ activities) and some travel, my class attendance has remained steady. This consistency can be attributed to the multiple boxes BJJ ticks in my life. Some people may be able to sustain long-term dedication with a single motivation. Perhaps they want to be a world champion, or their singular aim is to obtain a black belt. Throughout my life, I have found different reasons to keep going back to Jiu Jitsu. When I take stock of the motivations that draw me into Jiu Jitsu, four stand out.
Knowledge and Technical Understanding
I gravitate towards Jiu Jitsu for the learning and mastery of technique. The thirst for new knowledge is often a great catalyst for training. Having an inclusive space to learn from an instructor and fellow students keeps eager students coming through the door. That thirst for knowledge can be specific. Sometimes I am consumed by solving a problem I see in my BJJ game. Other times that thirst comes with no questions, no focus and no agenda, just an eagerness to learn Jiu Jitsu.
Knowledge and understanding of the art is a powerful motivator.
Mindfulness and Wellbeing
Martin Seligman explains in his PERMA model of happiness the experience of Engagement or Flow. The state of being totally absorbed by a present task where time and self- consciousness seem to cease. Personally, nothing helps me achieve this feeling of flow more than Jiu Jitsu. At the end of a stressful or busy day, Jiu Jitsu allows me to engage and reconnect with myself. It lowers the volume on inner thoughts and expands my awareness beyond my immediate anxieties or worries.
BJJ is a technical and mindful pursuit but it is also a physical one. The fitness and health benefits of Jiu Jitsu are well documented and well observed by anyone who trains Jiu Jitsu. If I take too many days off, I begin to feel sluggish and unfit. Some nights I go to training just to sweat.
On any given day, I may not be craving knowledge. I may not feel like a workout. I may not be in need of decompression. On those days, I still enjoy spending time with friends and training partners. A Jiu Jitsu academy often becomes a social haven, a close group of likeminded people and a surrogate family. The comradery, the laughs and the social environment are a draw card even when my Jiu Jitsu cravings aren’t present.
When I walk onto the Jiu Jitsu mat, it is rarely for a singular reason. Multiple motivations are always at play and they keep me coming through that door. The more reasons and the more motivations we have to do something, the more likely it is to endure.