Rolling Light: The Importance of BJJ Memes as a White Belt
One of the best pieces of advice that I can give to a new Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner is to have fun, no matter what. BJJ is one of the most difficult undertakings that one can partake in. Not only is it physically demanding on the body, but also on the mind. Those early days, trying to get your arms and legs to work in concert, while making sure your hips are in the right position, and you're breathing properly can be some of the most challenging that an average person can experience. Very few exercise programs or fitness experiences can rival what that first BJJ class can do to one's body and and psyche.
In addition, there is the mental challenge of jiu jitsu. It is not only a very cerebral art in which you are playing a dynamic game of cat and mouse with your opponent or training partner, there is the challenge that one's ego must deal with everyday. You go incredibly fatigued, having been tapped for what seems like 1000 times that evening. It's hard to feel incredibly positive sometimes after the average class and sparring session.
The memeing of life
One of the best developments in the history of BJJ for keeping a healthy and humorous perspective is the internet BJJ meme. Unless you are completely removed from all forms of social media and do not talk to any of your training partners, you have probably encountered a jiu jitsu meme. A BJJ meme for those who aren't aware can be any form of image or video from any source, usually pop culture and is hijacked or tweaked with some BJJ related text added. Sort of sounds like the legend of the history of jiu jitsu itself. Taking something and tweaking it for the better and changing the world?
There are a number of websites and social media accounts that specialize in BJJ memes. Some of the best and most prolific include Jiu Jitsu Times, Because Jitsu, and White Belt BJJ, amongst others.
What do BJJ memes do?
As someone who has created literally thousands of memes in the past 5-6 years, I wanted to share some thoughts on what memes do for me and what I have seen them do for other people.
BJJ Memes Express the Ups and Downs of Our Shared Experiences
We've all seen that person (or sadly, been that person) who comes in late and misses the strenuous warm up before class. We've all slapped hands and bumped fists with that person who said they were going light and who came at us like a rabid animal. We've all had the feeling of getting or not getting a stripe or belt promotion and left the class wondering what do we do now to earn or live up to that promotion. The point is that there are shared milestones and experiences on the road to black belt that we all have to go through. There are no short cuts in BJJ. Sometimes these experiences and milestones can leave us wondering if we are cut out for BJJ.
BJJ Memes Make Us Laugh and Put Things in Perspective
I started creating memes because I found them to be a humorous way to share my thoughts and feelings as I was starting out my journey. Taking an image with some famous TV or movie star making a funny face and realizing I make that same face when X occurrence happens to me in BJJ class, was somehow therapeutic and ultimately when I shared them on my personal social media, my friends and teammates who trained, suddenly understood and it made my personal feelings of doubt or frustration more manageable and put challenges in perspective.
BJJ Memes Build Community
This amazing shared martial art that all of us practice and the experiences, both good and bad that we all go through can be shared through the lens of the BJJ meme. It's amazing to see that through laughter, our community grows stronger. BJJ memes can also be used to make statements about controversies and attempt to inspire change. BJJ memes can inspire, educate, and help motivate change to happen.
Can't get enough BJJ advice geared for the white belt? Check out this BJJ Fanatics article here.
After you're done catching up with the latest BJJ memes and it's time to get back to technique, you will want to build a solid foundation of techniques early on that will continue to reap benefits, then you'll want to check out Travis Lutter's "The Road To Blue Belt" 2 DVD set here.