BJJ as a sport is mainly watched by those who train. This often means you’re influenced by the people who were actively competing when you started and throughout your tenure as a BJJ practitioner.
For many of the new generations, those names are Gordon Ryan, Craig Jones, Mica Galvao and even Garry Tonon. But before all of them, there was Jeff Glover.
Glover was one of the first prominent competitors to adopt the ‘entertainment’ first outlook on the game of jiu-jitsu and that made him into a staple of an entire generation.
Glover recently guested on the Jocko Willink podcast and detailed the extreme lengths to which he went training.
He detailed his life was pretty hectic around 2007, 2008 but jiu-jitsu was the constant that kept him going:
“I mean, the jujitsu is the only thing that was not chaotic. I mean, just like social life. Family life ”
Glover went on to detail he started BJJ after Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller moved in next door to his family in 1998.
” I was assisting in every class. All of Franinha’s private classes. His women self-defense classes, his little kids classes.”
“I mean, it was like, if I missed more than two classes, the whole like free jujitsu thing was over.”
That amounted to four or five classes each day and of course he wasn’t rolling for all of them. Glover was infamous for his playful style of rolling he pioneered along with Dean Lister. The two would often engage in rolling sessions that were more playful:
“And I remember that actually, Dean and I used to do that. Dean and I would do that where we’re sort of going, but we’re also kind of just playing, but if it’s going to work, you can kind of tell, it’s going to work. If it’s not going to work, you can tell it’s not going to work, but you don’t get all locked up in one position and sit there across the side for 48 minutes, which is not much.”
“You have to play before you can fight. It’s like in boxing, a boxing coach won’t hold bats for you unless you’re good at shadow boxing and bag work first because you’re going to f***ing hit him. You know, you’re going to hurt him as a jiu-jitsu coach. I don’t want to work with a jiu-jitsu student that doesn’t have a good stance.”
“and they’re like, ‘Oh, I don’t know what to do on hands,’. I’m like, whoa, I’m not rolling with that dude. He’s going to hurt me. And if I roll with him, I’m going to only only win. There’s not letting this dude get anything because he’s going to do it wrong and hurt me. You know, then I start feeling bad because I’m just breaking some dude off. ”
“He doesn’t understand. I’m just trying not to get hurt. ”
Regardless of how you feel about Glover and if you’re even aware of his contributions. This is an interesting lesson. Oftentimes we get hung up in training trying to satisfy our egos and end up having unproductive roles where we’re teaching someone a lesson instead of learning. This kind of an experience can hinder growth and even compromise our health.