The current COVID-19 situation in the world is a very serious one; people are getting sick, oftentimes critically, and countries are attempting to fight the disease by going through extreme lockdown procedures. These procedures have, unfortunately, changed the BJJ landscape as well – the academies are closed and training has, for the most part, come to a sudden stop.
It’s inevitable that the future of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will change as a result, and here are four things that will probably happen.
SOME BJJ ACADEMIES WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS
As you have probably guessed, many – if not all – BJJ academies have found themselves on rocky grounds due to COVID-19. The longer the lockdowns persist, the bigger the chance for an academy to go out of business completely. This might mean that you won’t be able to return to your own academy afterwards.
So, what can you do? If you can, continue supporting your academy. Your instructor needs the support of his students… And not just so that you’ll still have a place to roll in; but also because he needs to provide for himself and his family as well.
This is a time when the true qualities of Jiu Jitsu emerge and ask of all of us to be the best that we can be. Try and help out as much as you can.
IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO COME BACK TO CLASS
On a more personal level, after some time has passed and the lockdowns are terminated, it will be quite difficult to come back to training for a lot of jiujiteiros. The inner fire of motivation will require re-kindling and many obstacles – in the form of rusty techniques, as well as depleted cardio reservoirs – will need to be overcome; as well as the frustrations of not being able to do that which once was „easy“.
Therefore, once you’re back on the mats, make sure that you can look back at the COVID-19 days and see yourself working out; doing BJJ solo drills, bodyweight and weight exercises, running… Doing as much as you can to preserve your athleticism.
Quite simply, if you give your best shot now, then you won’t need to worry as much when you’re back to rolling with your friends.
TRAINING AFTER COVID-19: SMALLER GROUPS AND (LACK OF) COMPETITIONS
Even when the things are back on track, it’s likely that this will be a different „normal“ than the one you were used to. For example, governments and common sense may dictate that having more than an X amount of people in one room needs to be evaded… Which would have an impact on the size of BJJ classes. So, perhaps there will be a necessity to move away from the large class format and focus on groups with less people.
In addition to that, it is also likely that private classes will increase in demand as well. This might happen due to the fear and/or imposed regulations; as well as because the smaller (and, possibly, less frequent) classes won’t be enough for progress… Especially for those that want to compete.
Which brings us to the possible changes in regards to competitions. International competitions may be seen only further down the line, as the risk of contagion can increase if a lot of people from different areas of the world meet up in one place. Also, additional medical testing and questioning may be required for athletes so that they can be cleared for competition.
The changes are coming, but remember: don’t quit and do what you can, right now! Jiu Jitsu will be waiting for you.