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Jiu Jitsu Gym Culture

Lets talk about gym culture.

As a kid, there were no gyms on every corner like there is now. There were “leisure clubs” with pools and aerobic studios, but they were if you had money. But in a few spots you’d find a gym that is slightly more like we know it today. I walked into my first real “gym” as a 15 year old. It was literally in a basement. It stank of sweat and deep heat, all the equipment looked like crap. Some of the bars were rusted, and the vinyl on the benches was worn and torn. A guy was lifting some ridiculous weight and growling at the bar like it owed him money.

I asked a guy if I could join, he handed me a form on a clipboard, asked for ID, which I didn’t have, and then said okay, £5. I mumbled something about having to go get the money, and legged it and never went back. I was just too intimidated. Those lads looked like The Hulk to me and I was a skinny kid who’d been doing push ups in his bedroom. It wasn’t for me, not just then. Now I know that places like that are often the best. The hardcore ones where everyone is contributing just to keep the lights on.

When I started coaching, I made one of my missions to avoid that type of image when you walk in the door. I know now that the lads in that basement were probably all sound, and pretty happy to see a young lad walking in, but the step up was just too far.

The first session is your hardest one. Not because of the physical demands, but because of the leap of faith to get in the gym in the first place. It’s huge. When you first walk into a Jiu Jitsu gym, it must surely look like you’ll never be anything like the guys and girls who are on the mat. They’re all throwing each other around easily, effortlessly. You’ll never be like that! You’re like 15 year old me!

But if you walk into Kyuzo, the first thing we say to everyone is “You were new once”, so you won’t get a grunt and a clipboard to sign. You’ll get a “welcome” and a handshake. We know it's a big deal to start.

Our Foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu course is meant to bridge the gap between your leap of faith to come in the first place, and to getting on the mat with all of the guys and really starting to learn our incredible martial art.

I took a long time to eventually walk into a real gym, but once I did, it changed the course of my life for the better. Come down and get started with us, it might do the same for you.

See you on the mat,



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