Jiu-Jitsu

Finding Another Path to Natural Movement

Nothing’s sweeter than arriving on a path you never knew you always wanted. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) was something I watched others perform on television. Fear and intimidation kept me from ever picturing myself grappling, let alone trying BJJ on for size. But when faced with the reality that the Natural Movement movement is going to take some time to catch on in Florida, I decided to visit some local establishments that utilize natural movement techniques and primal play.

I started with Capoeira and really enjoyed the challenging, dance-like moves, especially since they’re accompanied by live drums – very primal. Next was Aikido, which seemed to offer a more realistic defense against an attacker than Capoeira. But I must admit, all the bowing before, during and after class was a bit annoying. I was very excited to try Parkour next because there’s no required attire (like a gi), and because it’s typically performed outdoors. Unfortunately, the facility was closed while they look for another location. Instead of waiting around, and having run out of excuses, I took the advice of a few people and moved on to BJJ.

There were plenty of local spots to choose from, but a wonderful website, blog and personal story narrowed my search within seconds. I submitted my information and received a telephone callback from the owner, whose laid back demeanor put my mind at ease. And when he mentioned the facility was fairly new, a lot of the intimidation I’d been feeling dissipated. It felt like I found a place where I can grow along with others. Now, it was just a matter of meeting the students, and seeing if we would mesh.

During my free introductory class I was surrounded by smiling faces, and welcomed warmly. I don’t want to say it’s not what I expected. But you have to understand, up until that point it was a foreign concept that you can choke a person out one minute and then hug or bump fists and laugh with them the next. During a tennis match, I don’t recall wanting to do anything with my opponent except to crush them. The long walk to the net after a defeat had me faking a smile while forcing a compliment out of pursed lips. But right away I could sense that this was nothing like that. This was a family.

What I’m finding most strange is that I’ve never been so comfortable with being so lost. Somehow I know that in time things will fall into place, and even then I’ll continue to learn. Right now, with flailing arms and an uncooperative brain, I’m becoming ridiculously hooked.

BJJ is definitely a form of primal play. It’s a way to focus your mind, strengthen your body, form bonds, and learn with and from others while they learn with and from you. And it’s an incredible workout!

Before I end this post, I just wanted to add one of the best guided meditations I’ve ever heard (thank you Chris Ryan, PhD for sharing on twitter). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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