In case it wasn’t obvious, athleticism definitely matters in Jiu Jitsu, much like any other sport or physical discipline. On the court in a game of basketball, you will never hear someone who got dunked on by someone much taller say something as asinine as ‘You only dunked on me because you can jump high and move fast.’ LOL
Yet in Jiu Jitsu, it’s commonly accepted for Blue Belts to make excuses about their losses to ex-Division 2 Football Players turned white belts because these white belts ‘used too much strength.’ Wake up, buttercup. If you ever find yourself saying this after getting dominated by an athletic white belt, let me tell you it’s still because your Jiu Jitsu sucks…
If a former gymnast cartwheels over your guard? Your guard sucks. Steel worker just grabs your wrist and nearly rips it out of the socket? You’re lazy with your positioning. Gym bro benches you off himself out of your mount? Your top game sucks and you need to be more agile!
Instead of clutching at our pearls, why don’t we work on our own athletic shortcomings as seriously as we address our shortcomings in Jiu Jitsu? You’ll hear plenty of guys on the mats talk about how they need to ‘up their cardio’ after some hard rounds of competition style rolls. Why don’t we ever hear, ‘I gotta up my strength, man’ ? It’s like there’s a concern that getting stronger will somehow take away from our Jiu Jitsu; as if Helio sheds a tear for every dumbbell curled and protein shake we drink. (much love and respect to Helio Gracie)
Consider Cyborg, Galvao, and Gordon, who all managed to gain considerable mass over the span of their careers. If being ‘unathletic’ would benefit their Jiu Jitsu, why would they do anything to disadvantageously to affect their careers?
Being in peak physical shape should be something that we work towards just as much as refining our Jiu Jitsu game, right?! If we want to have long careers in this sport, we have to start paying a little more attention to things we do outside of the gym.
Anonymous White Belt