“Jiu-jitsu teaches us to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. And this pandemic is an uncomfortable situation,” said Renato Tavares during a live video chat with my Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor.
Professor Tavares is a world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor and instructor with whom I had the privilege of attending a seminar a couple years ago. If you’re a jiu-jitsu player, I highly recommend his lessons—his methodical teaching style and magnetic personality make for a memorable, educational, and fun event. To this day, I still hear his voice in my head when I practice certain techniques.
Like the professor mentioned, this pandemic is quite the situation. I’ve thankfully been able to work from home for the past month and so far I’ve managed to avoid the sickness. I fully support efforts to flatten the curve and I’m prepared to carry on my socially distant lifestyle until a vaccine is developed or someone wishes away the virus with the Dragon Balls.
My selfish reason for wanting an end to the virus is so that I can finally start attending jiu-jitsu classes again. Fortunately, my finacée is also a jiu-jitsu player, so we’ve been able to practice some techniques and do some light rolling (i.e., sparring) so my jiu-jitsu powers aren’t completely withering away. Not everyone can practice their lockdown in lockdown.
Even though I have a training partner and a seemingly infinite amount of jiu-jitsu video resources online, it’s not the same as attending a class. Nothing can replace the feedback loop between students and instructors. The last thing I want to do is incorrectly drill a technique I learned from Sensei Youtube that will take more time to un-learn and re-learn correctly when I’m finally able to get some face time with my instructor.
In the meantime, I’ve decided to focus on the non-technical aspects of jiu-jitsu that I actually have control over: my fitness and flexibility. Chewjitsu sums it up nicely in one of his recent videos.
Even though I’ve been locked down since March, I actually prepared myself for a quarantined lifestyle ahead of time. I usually attend jiu-jitsu classes 4 or 5 times a week and while the sport is great for exercise, it’s not great for cardio or strength training. I don’t have a gym membership because I would rather invest my time in jiu-jitsu classes, so I gleaned enough equipment that I can work on my fitness at home!
I have a treadmill (mostly great for snow and rain), a pull-up bar, and Ring Fit Adventure for my Nintendo Switch. If I can do activities with at least one of these tools every day of this quarantine, I will hopefully keep my body at a reasonable level of fitness so I don’t feel like I’m drowning on my first day back in jiu-jitsu (whenever that is). These exercises work for me, but I think the best exercises are whatever the ones you do as long as you practice good form. I’m not a fitness expert, so take all of this with a grain of salt.
I never thought that my favorite pajama wrestling hobby would just be gone. But if that’s the worst thing that happens to me, I’m thankful. I’m willing to give up jiu-jitsu if it means it will help everyone get through this global catastrophe. Like Professor Tavares said, this is an uncomfortable situation and we’re all forced to grapple with it. Hopefully we can tap out the virus soon.
Stay safe, healthy, and wash your hands!