We know you love Jiu Jitsu and we know you think of the guys at the gym as a second family, but would it not be nice if your family at home would do Jiu Jitsu? If most of your friends started Jiu Jitsu? Of course it would, but convincing people to come to Jiu Jitsu is a difficult task. Let us have a look at some important points to consider when trying to convince someone to come to Jiu Jitsu training.
- Realize that different people do Jiu Jitsu for different things. Jiu Jitsu is an excellent tool for both the human body and the mind. You have to realize that people do BJJ for different benefits. Some do it for the physical conditioning, some do it for the self defense aspect. Some do it to become top competitors, while some just need a way to blow off steam from their work and their personal lives. When trying to invite friends and family to Jiu Jitsu, try to think of what they would benefit the most. Have they been bullied in their lives? Tell them how Jiu Jitsu will do wonders for their confidence. Are they going through a difficult and frustrating part of their life? Explain to them how Jiu Jitsu helps in keeping the mind sane and blowing off steam. Are they looking to lose some weight? Tell them how fun Jiu Jitsu is and how they could lose weight in a way that is fun, effective and could lead them to having a healthy lifetime hobby! Try to approach this from their point of view.
- Don’t make them watch Jiu Jitsu. The truth is that watching Jiu Jitsu is generally boring, even for us who practice it. Imagine showing to your friends a match of Sport Jiu Jitsu where the two guys start pulling berimbolos and similar stuff that makes no sense to a non practitioner. If you do insist on showing them sport Jiu Jitsu, go with ADCC matches, as they tend to be more spectacular in nature and might resonate more.
- Show them BJJ in top level MMA. The easiest way to explain Jiu Jitsu to someone is showing them Jiu Jitsu in MMA. Generally it’s a good thing to show them videos of Demian Maia or pretty much any other Jiu Jitsu guy in top level competitions. This will instantly show them that the art is effective at the highest level of martial arts fighting and will instantly gain credibility in their eyes.
Figure 1. Demian Maia is a fantastic example if you want to show them the efficiency of BJJ in high level MMA
- Try to take them when you’re going out with the guys at the gym. Making your non jiu jitsu friends/family go out with you and the other guys at the gym will show them how humble and down to earth Jiu Jitsu people really are and get to know them. The more bonds they form, the more they will be curious to give Jiu Jitsu a try.
- Convince them to come and watch a beginner training session. A lot of people think that joining a martial arts gym will mean that they will be beaten up really hard and undergo different joining rituals. Convince them to come and watch a beginner’s training session so that they can see for themselves that everyone is friendly and the purpose is to learn, not to get beaten up. It’s generally best if you invite them to watch a beginner’s session, because any advanced class might make them intimidated with the sparring intensity.
- Convince them to come to a one time session only. This is how it started for many people. They got convinced to come for one session, they enjoyed Jiu Jitsu and they saw it’s benefits and they enrolled from that point forward. Asking them to come for a one time session only is good because it requires very little commitment both financially and otherwise.
- Convince them to enroll their kids. A slightly different route to take is to convince them to get their kids to Jiu Jitsu. Explain to them how benefic is Jiu Jitsu for their kids and why they should enroll them. Seeing their kids do this might eventually make them enroll as well, especially if the gym offers adult sessions during the time the kids train.
- Show them the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle. Show your friends pictures and videos from whenever you traveled the world to compete. Show them how you and your friends bond (no, that does not mean hugging on the mat), how you have fun together. Chances are you have some nice pictures together from the Europeans or some international competition.
Figure 2. Jiu Jitsu will give you plenty of opportunities to travel the world and have huge fun with your team while you’re at it!
Now that we’ve talked about how to get your friends or family to do Jiu Jitsu, let’s talk a bit about how to keep them doing Jiu Jitsu. Let’s take a look at why most practitioners quit at some point or the other:
- Some people do get injured. Perhaps it’s a long term injury and Jiu Jitsu just got off from the routine. Perhaps it’s a short term injury but they just got scared. If it’s the first one, make them remember the benefits Jiu Jitsu had in their life and explain to them that an injury should not keep one back from doing what he enjoys. If it’s the latter, an easier way to go is to just explain to him that injuries happen, they are not that often and that he should just come drilling for a while if he does not feel like sparring. Drilling is a good way to get them back in the game.
- Family/life commitments. This can take multiple forms. Having children, having a spouse that does not understand Jiu Jitsu and what it offers, etc. You must make your friends realize what Jiu Jitsu gives them. The mental health, the physical health, etc. Once they realize that, they will probably also realize that you really have to find a way to do what you enjoy in life. If you have kids, find a way to bring them to Jiu Jitsu. It’s an excellent thing for them to do and even better, chances are you can do Jiu Jitsu yourself in that time. If your spouse is not understanding the benefits of Jiu Jitsu and why you should do it, try to use the points above to make her get in contact with Jiu Jitsu and understand what it truly is.
Figure 3. Jiu Jitsu is an excellent development tool for both kids and adults.
- Development frustrations. Some people quit because they are stagnating and feeling like they are not progressing. Explain to them that this happens to everyone and that consistency is key. Chances are you are a higher belt than they currently are so give them a hand with their development. See where they are lacking, give them some technical help. Show them some online material. There are plenty of ways to help them develop!