The Unknowns of Jiu Jitsu: Part Two
by: Daniel Frank
We saw that in part one of this article that there are quite a few things that are originally unknown to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner. The novice student must become accustomed to having bruises and being bandaged up early in their jiu jitsu career. They have to become familiar with their uniform and the fact that there are many nuances to this uniform. Also, no matter how bad that the practitioner thinks that they are, there is always someone worse than they are. These are but a few of the unknowns in jiu jitsu. There are many still yet to be discovered.
Fingernails are very important
Fingernails are not thought of much. Once they start hurting though, it’s a different story. ‘Cut your nails’ is echoed over and over in every club, gym, and academy throughout the nation. The length of your nails is not that important. The sharp edges of the nails are what slices up your training partners. In an effort to not be known as the ‘Wolverine’ of your academy you strive to cut your nails short and file down the sharp edges. If you cut them too short, and then train, you find out that the nail starts to get torn away from the skin beneath the nail. Every task done afterwards with your hands is a brutal test in pain endurance. It feels as if there are a thousand tiny paper cuts under your nails every time you use a pencil, type on the computer, wash the dishes, or eat a snack. Rethink cutting your nails down to nothing. Focus instead on making sure they are dull and cannot be used as weapons so you will no longer be the slasher of your academy.
A familiarity with sweat
Of course you are going to sweat in jiu jitsu. You sweat during any strenuous activity. Sometimes, you sweat when you are not doing anything very strenuous. Jiu jitsu sweat is a little different though, particularly because it is not always your sweat. As a matter of fact, most of the time it is the sweat of your opponent or the sweat of a combination of opponents that drenches you every time you train. When you put a gi on, you feel like you have done a little to save yourself from the absolute sweat fest that is no-gi jiu jitsu. However, when you roll with your first bald opponent of the day and you get some of their head sweat dripping down into your eyeball, or worse, your mouth you are reminded that sweat is something that you have to become accustomed to and embrace in this new sport.
Sweeping and mopping is an art form
I learned ‘the proper mopping technique’ at my first job, at McDonald’s, when I was fifteen. My manager showed me how to mop in figure eights to be sure that every inch of the floor was mopped with hot, soapy water. I remember thinking about how boring it was sitting there and listening to him drone on and on. Little did I know that his advice to me at fifteen would make me one of the most bad ass mop machines the world has seen. There is a procedure to cleaning your gym and familiarizing yourself with that procedure as quickly as possible helps you in the long run. If you are helping to clean the academy, you do not want to be the person sweeping in the wrong direction or awkwardly spinning in circles after you have mopped yourself into a corner. Even the tiniest armed person out there still has a tiny wingspan and can cover some mat with a mop. If you look out there, then you might even find a video or two on proper gym cleanup to help you.
I never knew that I loved Hall and Oates
You have your own taste in music. So does every other man, woman, and child on the planet. However, when you hear the first couple of lines of bass in Hall and Oates’ ‘Maneater’ you know that you have found the perfect soundtrack to your roll. By selling over 40 million records, and becoming the best selling music duo in the history of music, Hall and Oates have earned their place on the rolling soundtrack at any academy. Other genres have their time and place, and it is good to switch it up frequently. A Hall and Oates album, once a day, is the right prescription to getting your black belt and making your academy the cream of the crop.
The unknowns of jiu jitsu will forever be popping up. There is always something new to learn at your academy. It might not always be the newest technique or the down low on who makes the sweetest looking rash guard. Sometimes, it is just a little tidbit that will get you through the roll or make your time at the academy a much smoother experience.