“You’re off to class again? How often do you have to go? Why don’t you try something safer?” an anxiety-prone mother asked her 30-year-old adult daughter.
Do you have friends, family, coworkers, or loved ones who simply do not understand? They have never walked in your footsteps, or rather, pulled guard like you have, or cinched in that satisfying triangle choke before a tap. They’re probably well-meaning and have no malicious intention, but despite that…
“Your [female] body can’t handle it.”
“Aren’t you afraid your body will become masculine? Who will date you? Who will love you?”
“You’re only into it because your husband/boyfriend is.”
“Class again? Aren’t you getting a little obsessed?”
When you encounter naysayers about your love and addiction for Brazilian Jiu jitsu, keep this in mind:
Remind yourself of your WHY.
Why are you doing this for yourself?
- So what if you are doing it for a partner? Own it. You’re there as a supportive partner.
- If you’re doing this to gain self-confidence, kudos to you!
- You were lured in by the self-defense philosophy – me too! We want to be empowered to protect ourselves.
- You love it. You’re passionate about it. It’s 100% okay to commit to BJJ, no matter what anyone criticizes about it.
Your why is the heart of why you do what you do. This will continue to serve as your reminder to committing to an admirable martial art system. In the end, it matters not a whit that others just cannot understand why you love shrimping down the mats for drills, ready to pull that double-leg takedown on your opponent.
Show respect for their point of view.
“Self defense is not just a set of techniques; it’s a state of mind. It begins with the belief that you are worth defending,” Rorion Gracie famously said.
Even if you feel attacked by these comments and questions, try not to respond defensively. Choose to respond with “I can see how you would feel that way.” or “I understand that’s something you believe.”
There is absolutely no need to justify yourself or passion, or even express your disagreement if you choose not to. Stepping away from a battle is just as much emotional self-defense. Your insidiously negative commentators are desperate for attention. The most efficient strategy is to end this conversation.
Remain neutral without judgment or assumption.
Save your energy. Save it for the rolls and drills.
“Being judgmental or assumptive is evident through both verbal and non-verbal cues; it is important to personally refrain from these signals, no matter how tempting, when trying to resolve the situation,” advised the Power of Positivity website.
At a Ryron Gracie seminar, Ryron remarked that he never took anything personally. This goes hand in hand with remaining neutral because it takes energy to jump to the worst conclusions about someone. Just because someone says something that annoys you or upsets you does not mean they are deliberately malicious.
I am the daughter above. My mother, rooted in her native ways she brought over despite emigrating to a new country over 30 years ago, she means well when she worries that no one will love her indelicate-looking, muscular daughter. I choose to be kind.
“Do not let our egos take it personally and react to their behavior or words,” Bernadette Logue, leader of The Daily Positive, insists.
Remind yourself of your motivation to be a jiujiteira, demonstrate respect for other viewpoints, and remain neutral. Choose your battles and walk your confident walk.
Aspiring project manager Jenn P.T. Lee is a four-stripe white belt at the Relson Gracie TeamHK school in Honolulu, Hawaii, under Coach Todd Tanaka’s tutelage. Currently on hiatus, she agreed to a free trial nearly 6 years ago at her boy fellow’s insistence. Being that she had zero interest in grappling and not fond of getting up close and personal with strangers, much less in awkward positions, Jenn was confident she would do the trial, get it over with, and move on with her life. It was a complete surprise to fall head over heels in love from day one. A multi-passionate person, Jenn is a writing and editing consultant who teaches pole dance fitness, alongside dabbling in archery and learning to ride motorcycles.