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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Can jiu-jitsu be just a hobby?

Undeniable there are a lot of people who train jiu-jitsu all the time, and not only do they do maybe 5 or more jiu-jitsu sessions a week but they do strength & conditioning work and maybe cross-train in judo or wrestling as well. This is great and I love that jiu-jitsu means so much to so many people that they want to train this much, but it does lead to some people thinking that anything less than this level of commitment is worthless. I couldn't disagree more.

I think people should train as much or as little as they want. For some people it's a massive part of their life and they want to compete, win medals and progress quickly. But many people just do it because they enjoy it and it keeps them fit and healthy. Maybe they just train once or twice a week, that doesn't mean they should be seen as less committed or less a part of the team, they just have different circumstances, different reasons for training or different goals.

People talk about "jiu-jitsu lifestyle" (and really, I'm not even sure what that is meant to mean) but need to realise some people don't care about doing stuff to help their jiu-jitsu. Lots of people are happy training once a week, or even less frequently, and that's fine by me. I think everyone should be made to feel at home in the academy, no matter how rarely I see them. Not everyone is young with plenty of free time to train, plenty of people who love jiu-jitsu also work long hours, have a family and already have other commitments (taking kids to do activities is a common one which I know stops a lot of people training more)... I would hate for people like this to feel they are less important to an academy, or worse that they are a hindrance, just because they don't train a lot.

So yes, jiu-jitsu can be just a casual hobby for many people, even if it's a major part of a lot of people's lives. Some see it as a sport, some as a martial art, some just as a fun way to keep in shape... however people look at jiu-jitsu, I think they should all be welcome into an academy.


  1. Thats a good post Rob. The other big challenge for people who can only fit a handful of training sessions in as well is that you have a (natural) tendency to then measure your own progression by that of your temmates. I think a big number of casual trainers fall out of the sport because it can feel like you are treading water in progression as you see the guys that train 5-6 times a week race past you.

    Yours is a good and sensible attitude to have though. You hear about other instructurs that are the opposite (and I've seen them personally) that can't seem to differentiate between the fat that BJJ is their life (and source of income) vs students for which its a release and one of many things going on in their lives they need to juggle around

    I do think that some people take the whole 'jiu-jitsu lifestyle' a bit too seriously though lol.

    1. As far as I can tell, jiu-jitsu lifestyle means wearing flip-flops all the time and eating acai???

  2. Awesome post! So glad I stumbled upon your blog! As a guy who's still relatively new to the art (white belt, been training on and off for the past year and a half), and a new dad, your analysis def. struck a chord. I have not been able to train at all ever since the birth of my son, and even before I became a dad I was only training twice a week due to my job. BJJ is definately 'just' a hobby for me, as much as I hate to admit it lol, but I am still fine with it. But as Sean pointed out, its hard to keep yourself motivated when you see guys who trains everyday kill it on tme mat.

    1. Train for yourself, don't judge against others. Make yourself the best you can be with the training you can do :)