I once heard a quote “I came to jiujitsu for hate and I stayed for love.” It was the answer I was looking for when people asked: “why jiu-jitsu?” Even then, it did not fully encapsulate why jiu-jitsu. This is my story of why.
I had returned to fitness after a long break on the sidelines. I was not a stranger to sport – I was a competitive athlete young, later becoming a triathlete. In becoming a mother, I found it difficult to maintain. Then I was alone.
I was not alone in the sense of being alone, I was alone with myself. Inside my head, with no discipline to teach me otherwise. During this time, I was facing challenges in my life which pulled me into a daily toxic wasteland which resulted in a vortex of self-hate. And then, jiu-jitsu.
I was that person who stood outside looking in saying “I don’t roll around with sweaty people.” And then I did. I was not happy. I found myself often crying, not only because I was upset or frustrated, but because I was exhaling all the hatred I had for myself, my situation, and the darkness I had been sucked into. I was so into jiu-jitsu – for hate.
I had a team, I had my strength, I had a new drive. A drive to be better, do better, learn better. I also had a coach that knew exactly where to shine the light so we could find our way out. Not out of a hold, or out of a move, but out of our self-pity and willingness to just give up. A belief that we knew better, could do better, could love Jiu-Jitsu. I was slowly coming out of the darkness I thought I was destined to suffer in for a lifetime.
And then I was so into Jiu-Jitsu – for love. Like all loves, there are good times and there are bad times. But the safety that comes from knowing it is always there, always ready for you to return, unconditionally. This is my Jiu-Jitsu team, my community, my newfound love for something greater than me. This is the reason I stayed – for love.
Suzanne is a blue belt who trains in Jacksonville, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She is a university professor and finds joy in learning-especially with Jiu Jitsu. She shares her love Jiu Jitsu with her daughter.