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How Can I Explain Jiu Jitsu To Those Who Don’t Train?

How Can I Explain Jiu Jitsu To Those Who Don’t Train?


Ideas on explaining Jiu Jitsu...

What is the best way to explain Jiu Jitsu to those who don’t train? This is something that I have struggled with since the beginning of my time on the mats.

One route is to start with Royce Gracie. “Hey do you know who Royce Gracie is? I train his martial art…” For better or worse, Royce is an ambassador of the sport. He showed the world what Jiu Jitsu is. Unfortunately, that does not work for everyone.

The conversation with my mother in law went like this, “Do you know who Royce Gracie is?”

My mother -in -law will usually reply with, “No, is he someone who can help you get a job?”

Still hoping she understands, I say, “No, he is a Jiu Jitsu guy.”

She confidently replies, “So that is like pro wrestling that you do in the UCF?” She thinks the UFC is called UCF.

“Sure.” Is the only thing I can say.

At Church, people are like, “So, you are a MMA guy?”

I am taken aback that people at Church would have a grasp on MMA. Thinking this conversation is going somewhere, I reply “Well I have not been to MMA sparing or a kickboxing class in a while, lately all I have been training is Jiu Jitsu…”

They always cut me off and say “So it is MMA right?”

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I try to explain it to my Mom, “It is a sport where you use your body and your mind to defeat someone.”

She is always quick to reply, “So it is like Brazilian Tae Know Do? When are you going to open a Tae Know Do school?”

Most of my friends seem to get it. Or at least they pretend to understand. I tell them it is like fighting without punching or kicking. But I am always carried away and begin to nerd out trying to explain technique. The conversation does not go much further.

While many do not understand what Jiu Jitsu is, it is even more difficult to explain what it means to those of us who train. My wife understands at a high level what Jiu Jitsu is. She still does not understand why I want to leave her at night to “roll around with a bunch of dudes.”  How do you explain the joy of swimming in the ocean to someone who has never seen water? How do you explain the many ways Jiu Jitsu transformed your life?

Seriously, I want to know…

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