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When to start Jiu Jitsu

There is an old saying that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, however the second best time is today. Does this apply for jiu jitsu however where there are physical demands, time demands and difficulty beyond what most are used to? If you have been thinking about starting jiu jitsu, should you start today? In this blog we will cover the major challenges people face and come to a decision on whether or not today is the best day to start.

The biggest challenge I hear from people who say they want to start jiu jitsu is that they will start when they get in shape. This is a fallacy. You will never feel in shape enough to start jiu jitsu. In fact, how could you even know what jiu jitsu shape is without doing jiu jitsu? I understand the idea that you don’t want to gas out right away, thus making a fool of your ego. With the assurance that I understand your position please understand the position that it is impossible to get into grappling shape without grappling. I have grappled with marathoners, cross fitters and everything in between. When they first start they get tired. The reason people get tired isn’t because they are or aren’t in shape, it is because they are very inefficient with their movements. If this is your reason for not starting jiu jitsu, throw it in the trash and get to your local dojo.

“I want to, I just don’t have time” is also a very common explanation as to why somebody doesn’t start. This is both the easiest to get past and the hardest. It is the easiest because we all have the same amount of time. There are practitioners that have 10 kids and work full time. There are practitioners that run billion dollar businesses. They have the same amount of time as any of us and they make it work, so can we. That said, it is the hardest to get past for most people because we have years and years of developing a habit of not taking autonomy for our time expenditures. We always “have to” do things. We constantly prioritize other things. Those other things can be very important like work, or picking up your kids etc. I understand where these people are coming from however, in my opinion, life is about more than the feeling of obligation. Your mental and physical health is the most important asset you have. You will not be able to help others if you can not help yourself. You must do things for yourself. Choose to make time for jiu jitsu and throw this excuse in the trash.

I do not have the money for a gym membership is another common one I hear. Money is tight for a lot of us currently with inflation. I understand needing to make priorities and it can be tough. That said, I know many gym owners that are willing to give discounts or trades for people that are committed to learning but struggling financially. Go to your local gym and have a conversation with them about your wanting to train but struggling currently financially. Some owners may be pricks about it, but most will try and work something out with you. The majority of us want to spread jiu jitsu to all who want to learn. It will be hard on the ego, but worth it in the long run.

The most honest people say that they want to try it but are scared they would get their asses kicked. I appreciate this excuse the most. Fact of the matter is, after 19 years, I will still get a bit of anxiety going into a hard training session with skilled practitioners. The more you are fearful, the more you need jiu jitsu. If fear dictates your decisions in life you will end up living the life others want for you not a life that you love. Fear has its job to keep us safe but it lives in a silo and has no regard for our overall health. Truth is we were all scared in the beginning. Take the feeling of fear, embrace it, and throw it in the trash as an excuse not to start.

As I read through the war of art for the second time, I came across this portion of the book that I have altered just slightly to include jiu jitsu. The more resistance you have against something the more hidden love you have within that something. When starting an art, resistance is directly proportional to love. The opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference. If you didn’t love the idea of jiu jitsu that is terrifying you, you wouldn't feel anything. The more fear or resistance you feel the more important it is to you and the greater the satisfaction when you do the art. There is great satisfaction in getting over the fear of training. Hope to see you on the mats!

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Anthony Restuccia
Anthony Restuccia
Sep 29, 2023

Great blog. When I started in 2006, I was about 240lbs. Today I weigh in at 165ish. I remember being terrified that I wouldn't make it through my first class because of my fitness level. While BJJ wasn't the only factor in my weight loss journey, It has been a huge part. I tell people all the time, if you're worried about your fitness level, do what you can. Then every subsequent class, try just a little more. :)


AJ Perkins
AJ Perkins
Dec 05, 2022

I started at age 58 and I wasn't in shape then but I am in better shape now. My wife commented the other day and said jiu-jitsu has helped me. She could see the difference.

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