What Are Your 3 Magic (Jiu-Jitsu) Wishes?

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photo by tiago molinas

photo by tiago molinas.

Jiu-Jitsu is often idiosyncratic. It has its own culture, its own language. We can endlessly debate the values of different approaches to training, to teaching, to “art versus sport”.

But I think there are a few things we as practitioners can do to elevate the practice for everyone, regardless of where they’re from.

So with the holiday season approaching, I’d like to share my 3 wishes for the Jiu-Jitsu community…

#1: No More Rolls

I wish first that people would stop calling the training “rolling”.

Why? Well, I like bagels better than rolls and I like bialys better than bagels and then best of all of course is challah.

But seriously – what we do isn’t a “roll”. It’s training. It’s a practice, it’s an art, it’s developmental and evolutionary. “Rolling”, even as a descriptive term, undervalues what’s happening.

#2: No More Game

My second wish would be that we stop calling what we’re doing “my game”. As in, “I’m working on my game”.

Here’s why: once again, calling it a “game” is a misnomer. In fact it’s a series of skill that we’re cultivating…not an RPG, or a fantasy, or an escape.

I find it a little worrisome that grown men and women aspire to play games all the time. Are we really coming to the dojo for two hours to play a game?

Think about it. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t have time for that – life is short already, a chunk of it’s already gone and I’ve got work to do on myself and in the world.

Of course we can have fun – training doesn’t have to be stodgy and overly serious – but it’s a different mentality. There’s something else going on here other than Monopoly or Candyland or Chutes and Ladders, and it’s nice to recognize that.

Make sense?

#3: No More Mr. Tough Guy

And my third wish – I mean, if we had a magic genie handing them out – is that we wouldn’t have to pretend to be tough guys.

This one’s trickier because it cuts most of us pretty deeply.

What I mean is that really being a nice person and a peaceful human being – whether a family person or a working person, an artist or a musician or having your own small company – is enough.

You see, we often step right over these roles, though, when we see a chance to be better than someone else, or to have more than they do, or to do something that’ll make other people like us.

What we develop in the dojo then becomes a component of that, an extension of who we are. We create a beautiful practice that allows us to carry a big stick and to continue to walk very softly.

So those are my 3 wishes. Yours may be different, but I think if we can step away from what we want as individuals for a moment and look at what would benefit us as a group, we’ll be in a good place come next year.

I’m working hard now not just to hope that these things come true, but to love them and practice them myself so others will pick up on it and maybe head the same way.

For more about our larger project of cooperative Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts training, visit the Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Brooklyn BJJ) website here.
Contact Gene Dunn here and Brian Glick here.

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  1. Nadja

    Great read…thank you for taking the time to share your philosophy on training. I like the casualness of BJJ but sometimes feel like it’s too much and I find myself wishing for more organization in the classes. It sounds like your schools do this – hoepfully I can visit one day!

  2. Evan

    So grateful to have you as my teachers, when you’re at the well, remember to drink deep! Thanks for posting keep it going!

  3. Teresa

    I’m so honored and thankfull to have shihan gene Dunn as my teacher , trainer , guider in many things in my life , he’s an inspiration which I hope to make him proud , at the end of my journey I make black belt. I will work hard to make it !

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