Jocko Willink: Jiu-Jitsu is NOT For Everyone

Jocko Willink: Jiu-Jitsu is NOT For Everyone

It definitely requires a special type of person to actively train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Only 3% of the people who start training will eventually get to black belt.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is growing at an amazing rate worldwide. More people are training in all corners of the world. BJJ is evolving. ‘Jiu-Jitsu for everyone‘ and ‘Keep it playful‘ are phrases that are used by 2 major BJJ academy chains. It means that Jiu-Jitsu can be trained by the general population: from kids to the serious BJJ competitor to the middle age accountant who wants to lose weight and learn to defend himself. Also by ‘keeping it playful’ they become more creative with their Jiu-Jitsu, they avoid injuries and are able to roll into their 90’s.
The idea is very good. We want to spread Jiu-Jitsu all over the world and we also want to train for life and avoid injuries.

Is Jiu-Jitsu really for everyone though? Think about all the people that started training and gave up within a few months. Who is to blame? Was the instructor not encouraging them enough? Did they not like the academy and team? Did they get injured and got scared?

Tom DeBlass said it best:


I think the answer is simple, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is hard.

Most people look for the the easiest route to their desired goal. For example, instead of continuous healthy eating they look for the new fad diet or weight loss pill.

I have news for you, there is no quick fix in Jiu-Jitsu. It takes years of dedication in order to achieve your Black belt. During that time you will face many obstacles.

The easiest thing to do for most people when facing an obstacle is to quit. With this mentality most people die without ever reaching their full potential in any aspect of life.

Jocko Willink is a retired commander of the Navy SEAL Team Three. He is a decorated Iraq War veteran. The first time he encountered Jiu Jitsu was back in 1992 when a SEAL master chief showed Willink basic moves like armbar, RNC and few other staples of the Jiu Jitsu repertoire.

“I loved teaching the guys as much as I could, and as much as they wanted. The thing about Jiu Jitsu is it is also not for everybody. It can be very humiliating and humbling. If you have a hard time dealing with the fact that someone smaller than you may be able to tap you out, it is going to be difficult. There are two reactions you can have to that reality. Some people take it as a reason to learn more so that it doesn’t happen again, and some people decide to do that by never stepping into a gym again. You really never know who will make what decision. For me, I knew I wanted to be able to make sure that it wouldn’t be done to me, and I would be able to do it to other people.”

When asked just why jiu jitsu is so important to him Willink responded:

 Jiu Jitsu is a great workout both mentally and physically. You want to be strong for it and flexible for it. You want to have explosive energy and you want to have endurance. So it’s a very good all-around physical conditioning tool. Jiu Jitsu is probably the No. 1 activity that I could recommend to someone to improve their lives overall.

You can read the entire interview here.