People say things like “I don’t know how you find time to train Jiu Jitsu. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” They are right. Balancing Jiu Jitsu and life isn’t easy.
Training BJJ involves sacrifice. The difficulty and sacrifice is what fuels the personal growth and development though. I can’t imagine NOT finding time to train Jiu Jitsu. For me, balancing Jiu Jitsu and life is mandatory.
That doesn’t mean I’m always on the mats as much as I want. I recently had to drop down a third of my sessions every week to open up more time to grow my business. Before I’m done getting my business to where it needs to be, the remaining sessions will probably be cut again, but never to 0.
If I have scheduled my 2 – 3 training sessions for the week, then I am committed and don’t have to make micro decisions. Setting this measure in place for consistency is one of the best things a newer practitioner can do to establish the habit.
Once the habit is established, the adjacent benefits which come with the lifestyle like eating better, sleeping better, and regularly exercising all fall into place.
Balance Jiu Jitsu And Life Through Consistency
When each day’s Jiu Jitsu is an afterthought it is easy for F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) to creep in. In a world with social media where everyone is their own Public Relations company, there always seems to be something better going on.
The experienced grappler will usually start to experience Jiu Jitsu withdrawals if they go too long between training, so the consistency happens a little more organically.
When I start to get grumpy or uptight, I get kicked out of the house. She says in no uncertain terms to go train. That post-Jiu Jitsu zen lasts a few days and makes me a better person to be around.
Defending My Jiu Jitsu Time To Maintain Balance
There is an element of healthy selfishness to training Jiu Jitsu. In an plane crash, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you have the resources to help those around you. If I am miserable in life with no outlet, I won’t have much to give my loved ones. My first piece of writing on this website was about me almost quitting because I was trying to figure out the balance of jiu jitsu and life at home.
Focusing on meeting my own needs can’t ALWAYS be in the forefront. Otherwise I am pitting my family and friends against Jiu Jitsu. Eventually the tension will grow so great that one of the relationships will fail. Consistency helps manage expectations with how often I train and how often I’m available for other events.
When I’m starting to feel out of balance I evaluate where adjustments need to be made. If every part of my life is unsteady – family and friends, work and financial, and personal development – then something has to give. I need at least one of these areas stable.
Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”
The best family and friends should want what is best for me. If people are constantly pulling against me improving myself, maybe it is time to find new friends who are also on a road of personal development.
However, if I have trusted friends who have my back, maybe their outside advice is just what I need to re-balance. There are no “right answers” here. Only move with what the heart and mind say, and evaluate the results.
Defending My Life Away From The Mats To Maintain Balance
I started talking about defending my BJJ time, because It’s easy to make excuses to skip training Jiu Jitsu. BJJ is hard and sometimes we lack the motivation to push ourselves day in and day out. It is important I’m not blaming family and friends to give myself an out to avoid hard work.
However, there is a time to concede Jiu Jitsu time for life. Jiu Jitsu is just a means to improving ourselves, and a fun way to let off some steam on the mats, learning cool techniques with our friends. The relationships in life, and the needs of our loved ones have to be considered. At my funeral, I doubt everyone will be gathered around talking about how great my closed guard was. I would rather they say that I was a good person (and I feel Jiu Jitsu helps me be that person).
After a family emergency I took a month off of training completely to take care of some important things. I have had friends at the gym have kids and have to take months off to recalibrate their life. There have even been people who felt the need to take an entire year or two off to set the foundation for training. Coming back after a year off is so hard it is almost impossible, but it is better than quitting forever.
But Sometimes Changes Happen
Balancing Jiu Jitsu and life is difficult but possible. When major life changes happen though, the entire model can come crashing down. How do we adjust when we get a promotion at work, when we start up a new relationship or have a tournament coming up? How the way these dynamic adjustments are made is directly related to maintaining balance.
The Tale As Old As Time
There is a story I’ve seen replay itself in Jiu Jitsu. See if you recognize the plot.
Unpopular boy starts training Jiu Jitsu.
Boy builds confidence and physical prowess.
Boy meets girl who admires his drive and they begin dating.
Girl feels jealous of BJJ and convinces boy to quit training to spend more time with her.
Boy’s confidence and physical prowess slip.
Girl breaks up with boy because he just doesn’t have that attractive drive anymore.
Boy picks up the pieces and resumes training.
The cycle repeats.
Having support from those around me is the only way I have made it in Jiu Jitsu. If you are single and begin dating and you don’t address the fact that BJJ is part of what makes you who you are, eventually you will hit a rocky road.
Reelin’ In The Years
Life on this earth is short. Time doing what we love is always insufficient. Moments with those we love are fleeting. Within the past few months I know of 3 Jiu Jitsu athletes who passed away well before their time. Nothing is guaranteed. I try to be as present in every single thing I do as possible.
In BJJ class, dropping the worries of the outside world seems simple. I make sure to focus on having fun on the mat. I attempt to replicate this single mindedness in the other areas of my life. When I’m with my family I try to stay focused and in the moment and not daydream about Jiu Jitsu moves, or stress about work. When I’m in business mode, the focus shifts on what needs to happen to be successful.