Conditioning does not always get the attention it deserves in jiu-jitsu classes. As Firas Zahabi of Tristar Gym in Montreal notes in the below video, a lot of jiu-jitsu gyms keep their classes to an hour, spending half an hour on technique, and then half an hour rolling. For Firas, this is problematic because he feels that you cannot be a successful fighter without conditioning.
Getting to your blue belt in jiu-jitsu is a major achievement. Going from a beginner’s level to intermediate shows that you can dedicate yourself to goals and make a serious commitment. This is not very common. Only around 10% of people who start training jiu-jitsu are awarded their blue belts.
As you grow as a jiu-jitsu fighter, it is natural to want to train with people who are at your level or who are more experienced. If you’ve been at the same gym for several years, you’ll likely be friends with other people with whom you’ve grown as a fighter, and you may be most comfortable training with them. Meanwhile, you may recognize that training with more advanced fighters means an opportunity to learn something new.
With any sport, there is a risk of injury. Jiu-jitsu is no different. In most cases, injuries are limited to minor bruises and scratches. On occasion, however, some can be severe enough to keep you from training for more than just the day.
As you train jiu-jitsu, you will inevitably want to push yourself more and to get better and better. Even if you’re just there to learn self-defense and to stay healthy, you will almost certainly experience a moment when you are frustrated with some fault that you recognize in yourself. As a white belt, most of these faults will be a lack of training—you simply don’t know the techniques well enough. This may hinder your ability to perform them correctly or it may translate into an inability to defend against them.
Many of us have spent a lot of time at home for the past two years. Though blanket lockdowns are largely a thing of the past, most people will still have to make decisions about the level of risk they are comfortable with when it comes to potentially exposing themselves to the virus. For example, people who are immunocompromised or caring for someone who is going through a procedure that leaves them severely weakened (like chemotherapy) are going to be far more cautious than a young and healthy person who is living on their own.
Coach Firas Zahabi from Tristar Gym in Montreal teaches mixed martial arts classes. While he incorporates several disciplines to give his students a well-rounded understanding of different martial arts, he still feels that jiu-jitsu gives students the foundational tools they need to effectively defend themselves. Consequently, new students typically begin learning jiu-jitsu on their very first session. As he explains in the below video, he tends to then move on to boxing, to striking marital arts that use both the arms and the legs, and finally wrestling.
One of the skills that gets developed as you practice any martial art, particularly jiu-jitsu, is self-control. To outside observers, this may seem strange. They see martial arts as a glamorization of fighting. They may even believe that a martial art like jiu-jitsu is nothing more than a street brawl set in a controlled environment.