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Jiu Jitsu- A sport for the non-athlete

I remember this one time, I was at a thing, and a guy told me casually that he was going to the Olympics that year. I smiled and nodded and said something like “Cool, have a good time” at which he looked at me a bit funny.

Anyway, I turn on my telly one day that summer and there he is, rowing for Ireland at the Olympics. I honestly thought he meant he had tickets and was heading there on holiday. He was pretty unimpressive looking. He did not look like a guy who was going to challenge for Olympic medals. The book did not match the cover, but that was rare. Usually, the cover is pretty reliable for athletes.

If we think of an athlete, we think of professional footballers, or maybe sprinters. One thing you’d say about footballers is that they all look like footballers. Similar physique, gait, height. There’s very few very, very short ones and very few very, very tall ones. Jesus they even cut their hair the same. Clones. Sprinters look like sprinters. Distance runners look like distance runners. You never see some 5’5” stumpy legged bloke milling along the track, legs going 90 to the dozen keeping up with the rangy 6 footers ahead of him. That sport selected him out years ago.

I think about that every time I see some skinny or heavy kid step on the mats for the first time. This sport won’t chuck you out for your size or shape. In fact, you’re our target audience mate. Too short for Basketball? Too skinny for rugby? C’mon in. Been heavy all your life? You’re one of us. Two left feet? Have you tried using them to choke someone? Hate running? Don’t we all. Get on the mat. I’ve got something for you.

I’ve seen every body type. Every level of crappy coordination. I’ve seen people wheezing in the first 30 seconds of the warm up. Not all of them go on to be world beaters, but they all get better, faster, fitter, stronger. Jiu Jitsu is great like that. It’s a leveller. We’re the sport for the heavy guys, the too skinny guys, the nerds, the unathletic. We take pride in it.

That’s all for today.

See you on the mat,


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