BJJ Life Hack: How to Handle Tough Conversations About Your “Hobby”
You know the story. You show up at your Grandmother’s house for the annual Christmas dinner. As you browse the cookie table your uncle appears. Visibly inebriated, he proceeds to advance toward you making several chopping motions with his hands. And just like last year he asks, “still doing that karate stuff?” Almost every BJJ player I know has experienced a situation similar to this.
Will there ever be a year where your uncle seeks you out, proceeds to establish a solid clinch, wrestles you to the ground, and asks, “still doing that BJJ stuff?” Maybe, but it might be a while.
Don’t get mad. The traditional martial arts dominated the scene for many many years, and still are more recognized than BJJ. To most non-practicing folks, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Kung Fu are a few of the martial arts that have been household names for their entire lives. As members of the BJJ community, we are biased, but this doesn’t mean that other martial arts systems have no value. In most cases all forms of martial art are positive. Would you rather someone be on the couch lost in TV, or a child playing video games for hours on end in their bedroom? Don’t bash other forms of combat, simply be willing to inform those who are ignorant of why we prefer BJJ and its benefits.
As BJJ practitioners, we must be ambassadors of our craft. If not us, then who? Don’t roll your eyes and disengage in these situations. Make it your business to respectfully educate those who aren’t in the know. Explain to them what BJJ is and provide a quick synopsis on why you love it so much. Who knows, you may spark some interest and bring a new member into the fold at your academy.
So, go easy on uncle Ray this year. If you’re respectful and keep the conversation positive, he may end up next to you in a gi after the New Year.
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