Natural selection: jiu jitsu or me (English Version)

The original post was written for Érika Vilhena, our columnist. For the purpose of facilitate access for people from another countries, Patrícia Costa made an English version.


Many have already heard about women that want to practice jiu-jitsu and her partner doesn’t let her, as well as there are women that gets upset because her partner goes to jiu-jitsu. Well, this kind of behavior is usual, but to (try to) end this problem, let’s give some help to all people that still see grappling as a trigger for jealousy and arguments.

I can start affirming that each one has their own goals with jiu-jitsu: There are the ones who take the practice seriously and improve; the ones who come just for attempt, with no major claims; also there are some that come by the hit; others by hobby or trying to stay healthy, and still there are the ones that really come looking to grapple the opposite sex. Until now, this is nothing new, because can agree that all these kinds of people are in every place, and in every sport, right? So, why the trouble just with jiu-jitsu? The answer is simple:  grappling favors the evil-wishing and feeds the mind of the simple-minded and insecure.

Of course you, who has a partner who practices the sport, have the right of feel threatened when see your other half grappling with someone else on incessant and frantic movements that are sometimes so complex that you can’t even understand what is happening. You just can see them sticking together, sharing sweat, hands everywhere […] Yes, it is all true, but you wouldn’t find it abnormal if you understand jiu-jitsu, I guarantee!

The truth is that jiu-jitsu pays a high price for being a sport that leaves room for lay people to have multiple interpretations and sadly almost none of these interpretations are positive. It is a “stick together” fight and this is already an abominable fact for those who think that is someone’s owner, even worse is the generalization that some make when distrusting their partners, because they put all the other practitioners as conniving of things that aren’t always true. No use trying to hide.  There is, in fact, some people that come to jiu-jitsu to be near the opposite sex, but there is an implicit thing in “soft art” that I like to call natural selection of jiu-jitsu.

This natural selection of a strict gym eliminates the malicious over their own actions. If there is someone who does not take practice seriously, who is there just to get out with everybody as if in a quest for survival, who creates gossip or embarrassing situations among the fellows, who compromises the sensei and the team’s image, you can be sure that it is not a fault of jiu-jitsu, but a serious character problem. People with these characteristics do not survive for long in strict jiu-jitsu academies because the intense training and the team are in charge of eliminating them.

A redundant factor is also linked to the strange mania that many human beings possess of wanting to hold third parties accountable for their frustrations and insecurities. So, they end up committing a great injustice when they blame the jiu-jitsu to justify a lack of confidence in their partner and do not try to understand the fact that jiu-jitsu is a passionate sport, not as way for possible extramarital relationships. That is why it is so common to hear stories of people being placed against the wall and forced to listen to the famous and abominable phrase: “Jiu-jitsu or me!”.

I can be used as an example here because I’m a woman and I’ve being practicing this sport for almost 19 years. If you ask me if I have already suffered harassment on the mat, I will say that I did, but that it was not enough to deter me from going to jiu-jitsu, and some well-executed arm locks quickly solved the problem. What do I mean by that? That posture, character, attitude and dialogue are fundamental for everything in life, whether in a relationship, at work, at school, in college, at home, at the gym, and, of course, on the mat.

So, if you have a partner who loves and practices jiu-jitsu, try to know more about it before you weave together conspiracy theories against the sport. Also, know in advance that jiu-jitsu, when practiced seriously, addicts, and makes the person want to be on the mat as long as possible, that it does not always have another attractive factor besides the practice itself, that there is respect and a brotherhood between training fellows, that the team becomes a second family, and that I know many people who have been forced to decide between jiu-jitsu and the relationship, and decided for jiu-jitsu, putting an end to the relationship. It is that simple!

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