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John Danaher Leglocks
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Introverts in BJJ Class

Introverts in BJJ Class


I’m introverted.  I’m introverted, and I’m proud…most of the time.  

I don’t usually feel guilty about my introverted tendencies, but there are times when I do.  

When a new person walks through the door, I never walk up and introduce myself like some of my other teammates do.  It’s not that I don’t want to, but introverts have trouble with small talk and often don’t know what to say in social situations.  

I remember what it’s like to walk through that door for the first time, so I want the new guy to be comfortable.  But, sometimes, I just can’t bring myself to make that first move, so I let my teammates serve as the welcome wagon.  Meanwhile, I silently cuss myself out for not being more friendly.  

I take that guilt home, and it eats at me all night.  So, to all you new folks, I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself.  Please don’t take it personally.  

Another time when being an introvert can be a huge pain in the neck is during open mats.

To introverts, asking someone to roll can be like going to a wedding reception and asking someone to dance.

Most people would be a little nervous rolling with an upper belt.  I don’t care about that. I’ll roll with anybody. And once we’re rolling, I’m fine.  It’s the whole awkward part before the roll. Choosing partners is misery for me.

It’s not as bad as it used to be, because I’ve made a lot of friends in class.  Introverts do eventually grow comfortable with people after they get to know them.  But, still, choosing a partner for a roll is the part that makes me most uncomfortable.

For introverts like me, making the first move in social situations just doesn’t come easy.  I usually just hang back and let someone ask me to roll instead.

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I’ve never said no to a roll.  I’m blessed to train in an academy where everyone is a conscientious teammate.  But I still have trouble asking people.

So, why am I telling you all of this?

Well, I don’t want you to think I’m a jerk.  And, chances are, you have an introvert or two in your own training circle.  I don’t want you to think they’re jerks, either. Or that they’re stuck up. They’re not; it’s just that their discomfort makes them a little awkward.

Speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that—if you’re a good teammate—they’re probably happy to roll with you.  They’re just really uncomfortable in social situations and get freaked out by having to make that first move.

Often, extroverts mistakenly assume that introverts are unfriendly or standoff-ish.  The truth is that we do take longer to warm up to people. We don’t want to be unfriendly, but you just don’t realize the mess of worry and stress that’s going through an introvert’s head.  And extroverts don’t realize how truly GRATEFUL we are when you make that first move and invite us to roll.

So, if you’re NOT an introvert, do them a favor.  Invite them for a roll. We’ll be relieved, and you’ll get a good roll—and maybe a new friend—for your trouble.

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