You're Not As Strong As You Think.. You're Not Weak Either

Published on by Samantha Faulhaber

Photo Credit: Jeff Chu @jeffreyschu

I am always trying to figure out better ways to describe Jiu-Jitsu to the uninitiated. How do you tell somebody about this super fun thing that on its surface looks brutal and personal? How do you convey that this will “change their life”, bleeding into everything they do, without sounding like a psychopath? Perhaps they were pretty happy with their life just the way it was, anyway! Jiu-Jitsu has a deep effect on people because it messes with their perception of reality in a primal way. I pieced together this way of describing Jiu-Jitsu during an interview Gracie Academy Philadelphia had with a local Philadelphia news publication:

I posted it on my Instagram, @bjjsam. The cool thing is a lot of people agree with me. My Facebook post got over 600 likes and 1,000 shares in fewer than 24 hours, it was reposted on Instagram many times over, translated into Spanish and remade into a meme by @pasandoguardia, and even had the dubious honor of being pirated by at least one somebody who cut my name off.

It’s a fact. Men tend to use more muscle when they start Jiu-Jitsu. Women tend to lack physical confidence to the point that they don’t even know how to make a tight grip until someone shows them they can. People can be unaware of their bodies (and usually are) on each end of the spectrum. Jiu-Jitsu training with resistance helps everyone learn that their bodies are best used in an intelligent manner. It gives you immediate feedback to pay attention to your limbs. As in any sport, the more technically skillful you are the greater and more varied the adversity you can overcome.

I didn’t mean to say that women beat up strong men, though it looks like many have taken it that way and if you enjoy a girl-power message then that’s great. They might, eventually, given a great enough skill disparity when compared to any difference in strength. Of course a woman will have her best possible chance if she gives herself the gift of training in the first place. I was just stating that practiced body mechanics and leverage work. They level the playing field best and weaker people are better off than they might think, which means stronger people may well have a surprise coming to them.

If you think you’ll be able to muscle everything you’re probably wrong and if you think there’s no way you can do anything you’re definitely wrong. The truth always lies somewhere in the middle and live sparring makes it so you will learn or hide. The important thing is being able to control the body that you have in the smartest ways possible.