New Sports in US Colleges: Including Jiu-Jitsu

New Sports in US Colleges: Including Jiu-Jitsu

When you think of college sports, your mind probably jumps straight to football fields packed with screaming fans or basketball courts pulsing with intense buzzer-beaters. And that’s a natural thought process because these sports have dominated the collegiate scene for decades. On top of that, they have also become a massive part of American culture. The statistics reveals that they bring in truckloads of cash and foster intense rivalries that can split families come Thanksgiving.

Jiu-Jitsu Is a New Contender

But hold up, there’s a shift happening. Even though we all love our classic high-adrenaline games, there’s a growing appetite for variety in college sports. Nowadays. students are looking for something different, something that challenges both body and mind because only the balance between those two can make us truly happy.

Probably, it’s one of the reasons why Jiu-Jitsu became visible in the world of college sports. As you may guess, this activity is not just about brute strength. Instead, it’s a game of physical chess. Precision, strategy, and adaptability are the names of the game.

Why Jiu-Jitsu? Why Now?

So, why is Jiu-Jitsu starting to grapple its way into the collegiate sports lineup? Well, the psychology of young people is changing nowadays. They create a growing trend toward individual sports that emphasize personal growth and self-discipline. Those are modern common values dictated by the mental health industry. More than ever, students are looking for ways to:

  • boost their mental health
  • relieve stress
  • find a supportive community.

And imagine, Jiu-Jitsu offers in spades for it!

Moreover, Jiu-Jitsu teaches the necessary traits of resilience and adaptability. Those are skills that are golddust in today’s demanding world. This sport builds more than muscles, it builds character.

Going Beyond Athletic Skills

But it’s not just athletic skills that are being honed on campus. The thing that comes first is naturally academics. All young people inevitably face academic challenges, especially when it comes to writing. By the way, there is a lot of similarity between Jiu-Jitsu and writing assignments given at college. Just as this demanding sport requires strategy and precision, so too does crafting the perfect essay. And it’s not always easy to complete the latter, so students have a chance to benefit from an essay writing service that offers online help to those struggling with how to write an essay. These services produce the best quality paper with flawless structure and grammar. They basically help athletes to compete on the national stage effectively, isn’t it great?

The Challenges Faced by Colleges in Adopting New Sports

Unfortunately, the road to making Jiu-Jitsu a collegiate sport is paved with some pretty hefty challenges. Let’s talk about those in more detail. 

The Funding Fiasco

Adding a new sport like Jiu-Jitsu to a college’s athletic roster is much more serious than simply buying some mats and calling it a day. It includes a lot of issues that must resolved, so it’s a whole new level of financial commitment. The amount of work to be done is just immense. It includes everything from hiring staff and coaches to ongoing facility maintenance and travel costs for competitions. So, the dollars add up really fast. 

Finding the Coaches

Next, you need someone who can actually teach this stuff. We need bona fide, experienced coaches who can throw down serious Jiu-Jitsu knowledge. The thing is that any professional requires an appropriate reward. That’s why good coaches often command salaries that reflect their top-notch skills. If you haven’t done anything like that before, you should be aware that convincing experienced Jiu-Jitsu maestros to transition into collegiate coaching poses its own set of challenges.

The Facility Fight

The next question that comes out naturally: where are you going to practice? Jiu-Jitsu requires specialized mats and a safe training environment. But the truth is that educational facilities are quite tight on space. Start researching the possibilities and you’ll see that colleges aren’t exactly sitting on unused gym space that’s just waiting to be transformed into a dojo. Building new facilities or modifying existing ones can be prohibitively expensive and logistically nightmarish. So, colleges must put so much effort into that. 

Cultivating a Culture

As with any new initiative, you’ve got to get people excited about it. Since other sports have been leading in colleges for years, building a new sports program is not just about logistics. It’s much more complicated in a psychological sense because it’s about creating a culture. Jiu-Jitsu simply can’t thrive without a community of committed athletes. What does it mean to attract these athletes? It means promoting the sport as both exciting and valuable. This is a slow burn, requiring marketing savvy and a lot of grassroots enthusiasm.

Compliance and Complications

And let’s not forget about the bureaucratic ballet of compliance with collegiate sports regulations. This is the most unpleasant part of any new initiative, which is impossible to avoid. Every new sport must meet NCAA rules or other governing bodies, which can be as complex as any Jiu-Jitsu chokehold.

Future Prospects 

The challenges mentioned above are really hard to overcome but it’s not impossible. Luckily, the growth trajectory for Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts in college sports looks more promising than a freshman at their first campus party. Here’s why:

  • Rising Popularity: Thanks to MMA’s surge in mainstream appeal, more young people are jazzed about martial arts. Colleges have all the chances to use it to their advantage. Those who catch onto this trend can attract a fresh wave of student interest.
  • Fitness and Mental Health: Post-pandemic, there’s a bigger focus on physical and mental health. Sadly, COVID-19 disrupted many aspects of our personality. However. Jiu-Jitsu not only whips you into shape but also sharpens the mind, thanks to its strategic nature. 
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Martial arts like Jiu-Jitsu offer an inclusive environment that appeals to a wide range of students, including those not drawn to traditional team sports.

Final Thoughts

So, introducing Jiu-Jitsu into college sports is full of bureaucracy and cash constraints. But for the love of the sport and its potential to enrich student lives, some colleges are stepping onto the mat. The good news is that many institutions are ready to tackle these challenges head-on. Because at the end of the day, the payoff—a vibrant, engaging sports program that enriches the college experience. And it is worth the fight.

Author’s BIO

Cory Shilling is a former Jiu-Jitsu coach for high school students. He worked with talented young people to help them achieve outstanding results in what they love. Now, Cory shares his insights on this kind of sport through blog posts and live events.