Jiu-Jitsu is first, and foremost about fighting.
Yes, there’s a sport attached. MMA, and Jiu-Jitsu competitions are a convenient testing environment where the worst that happens is we tap out or get injured if we fail. Where else are we supposed to test ourselves? Bar fights? Fights in the prison yard? C’mon man, give it a rest. You’re street. I dig it but there’s more to it than that.
Yes, there’s a self-defense aspect. Actually fighting, dealing with violent criminal offenders. Yes you need to know how to throw punches, kicks, elbows, knees, and headbutts. You also need to know how to shut those down. Jiu-Jitsu also includes defense against impact, and edges weapons as well as firearms, and for the most part it always has. I get it. Sport is more fun, it’s more creative, and an all around healthy endeavor. Plus, nobody likes to think about the negative side of this stuff which is dealing with a violent criminal assault. However, we have to think about it because that’s also Jiu-Jitsu.
Then there is the art aspect. The side of this endeavor that makes us a better human. Jiu-Jitsu can change people for the better. It can open minds, build relationships, and expand our understanding of the world around us. Sometimes, maybe most of the time we build this without our conscious effort as a result of doing the work. Jiu-Jitsu isn’t easy, nor should it be. It builds toughness the only way possible. By burning us into the ground then building us back up again. We do our part by consistently showing up, gut-checking ourselves, and doing the work. Jiu-Jitsu does it’s part by grinding away our ego which removes a host of problems that limit our ability to show our best selves to those around us.
We have to rise above the arguments of sport versus street within Jiu-Jitsu. Coach Chris Haueter has been preaching the truth of Jiu-Jitsu for a very long time; Think street, train sport, practice the art. We need every aspect to be a complete Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Jiu-Jitsu is a complete martial art if we’ll let it be.