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Is Jiu Jitsu A Cult? If It Is, Does That Change Anything for Me?

Is Jiu Jitsu A Cult? If It Is, Does That Change Anything for Me?

A tongue in cheek look at Jiu Jitsu. 

My wife loves to joke that Jiu Jitsu is a cult. This article is intended to be a humorous look at that idea.

There are many definitions of a cult behavior. The freedictionary.com defines a cult as the following:

  1. a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader. b. The followers of such a religion or sect. 2. A system or community of religious worship and ritual. 3. The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual. 4. A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing particular disease. 5. a. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing. b. The object of such devotion. 6. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.

Let’s take a few minutes to look at this definition, tongue in cheek, as it might apply to Jiu Jitsu. Since this article is tongue in cheek, let’s strip away the words “religious” and “religion.”

1. A sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

While Jiu Jitsu is certainly not false, it may be considered extreme and unconventional to dress up in a kimono or spandex and practice murder. My instructor is definitely charismatic; a lot of instructors are charismatic. He is definitely an authority for me on Jiu Jitsu.

2. A system or community of worship and ritual. 3.The formal means of expressing reverence; ceremony and ritual.

Ritual is defined as, solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. Most Jiu Jitsu classes ritualistic start with a warm up, instruction, drilling and rolling.

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4. A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in.

The early Gracies did have a Gracie Challenge to prove Jiu Jitsu’ s exceptional power.

5 a. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing. b. The object of such devotion.

6. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.

I am writing an article on Jiu Jitsu. I will go to Jiu Jitsu class tonight. I will probably fall asleep watching Jiu Jitsu videos…

Clearly this article is not meant to be serious. Many of the negative characteristics of a cult are not found in Jiu Jitsu. We pass around acai bowls and never drink cool aid. I have yet to be offered any sister wives.  Enjoy your Jiu Jitsu journey. Never get to the point where you can’t laugh at yourself.

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