Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and What it means to me
I wanted to write an article about what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu means to me. I get the same question from a lot of people who walk into my academy, “what is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?” The common answer from most people is that BJJ is a ground fighting martial art, and I will agree. However, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is so much more than just a martial art, it is a lifestyle, but what does that mean? In my opinion living the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle is about training on the mats with your friends who are more like family, it is about how and what you eat, it challenges you mentally and physically every time you step on the mats.
From the day you first walk into a BJJ school and take your first lesson you will feel that family like bond between everyone training (at least at my school, and most that I have been to.) The academy is a place where you can go and forget about your daily stresses in life and just focus on training and learning one of the most strategic martial arts in the world. I have met all of my closest and best friends through Jiu-Jitsu and believe that if you train long enough it will be no different for you.
BJJ also challenges you to look at your lifestyle outside of the academy, what you eat, drink, and do on your “off” time will often determine how well you perform in class or in a tournament. I have witnessed more people lose weight and feel better training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu than almost any other activity that I have been involved in. On top of losing weight they are exercising and having a great time doing so. There is nothing more rewarding as a coach than having one of your students come up and thank you for helping them lose weight and feel better about themselves than they ever have before.
On top of meeting friends and living a better lifestyle, BJJ will challenge you mentally and physically every time you step on the mats. In my opinion this is what makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so much fun. It is like a physical chess match every time you engage in a training session or match in a tournament. You are forced to think and stay calm, yet work hard and be in great physical shape as well. This however, is why a lot of people quit training to early. In your first year training, BJJ can very challenging and frustrating at times. For those who continue to push through and get past that first year (or two for some) I would be willing to bet the majority couldn’t see themselves without BJJ. They say most people quit before Blue belt, and most Blue belts quit before Purple, but if you can make it to Purple belt you will most likely be a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu one day.
In closing, I wanted to say thank you to every one of my students for making it possible for me to live the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle. I enjoy every moment that I have with all of you and will always do my best to teach you everything that I know. It is always a great feeling as a coach to watch you all on the mats and see you pull off the techniques that we have been working on. Hope to see you on the mats, Jeremy Henderson

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