When we talk about learning jiu-jitsu we often fail to address how the starting point matters. Time and time again, a topic will pop up on reddit where somebody asks how to get ready to start training jiu-jitsu. And the simple answer is – you can’t.
Jiu-jitsu is very specific and unless you’re coming from a similar sport (mainly sambo, judo or wrestling) you’ll be like a fish out of the water for several months. This might actually be the best case scenario.
BJJ is often mentioned as the great equalizer considering it can empower a smaller person to defend themselves against a much bigger unskilled opponent.
And this is definitely true. But a lack of strength can even be a preferable starting point that will enable you to maximize your technique. This is exactly what happened in the case of Roger Gracie.
Gracie has always been around the mats, as the son of Reila Gracie and BJJ Black belt Maurício Motta Gomes but he hasn’t always trained.
Gomes and Gracie divorced and Roger Gracie only started taking BJJ seriously after a trip to visit Helio Gracie when he was 14. He told flograppling:
“I went to spend some of my summer holidays with my uncle Helio in the in the south of Brazil. And I think that kind of inspired me to, you know, Sunday is like going to the gym every day. I was a bit out of shape. He was incentivizing me to train, to diet. ”
“And I thought, you know, I kind of did that for he was for about five weeks. And when I got back to Rio was like, man, I love this. You know, I was like, super motivated. I was training, I thought losing weight and that kind of thing was the beginning. That’s when, you know, the seed was planted.”
“I was always tall, but not strong for my age. So that was a lot of catching up to do. I think it took me a few years for people really notice that, you know, like I could be something, you know.”
“I think I developed a technique because, you know, like I say, I developed quickly. So I didn’t had the physical strength that usually people have, you know, they can overpower people. I was overpowered by everybody. So I think my technique developed more, you know, so this my defense got very well, very, very good because, you know, I was like, is in the in, you know, being tapped by it, you know, of all the top competitors.”
John Davis is a dedicated practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, having first started training in the martial art in 2011. Despite facing significant knee issues that have sidelined him for a period, John remains passionate about the sport and continues to follow all the latest developments in the BJJ community.