Jon Grilz is the Head Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Coach at Minnesota Top Team; here's how BJJ changed his life.
You hear it all the time, "Jiu-Jitsu saved my l
life." Sometimes you even see the tattoos.It's a saying that you will get used to hearing from just about everyone that sticks with the game.
And I'm no different.
I started as a boxer and kickboxer. I'm old enough to have played in the game back before MMA or muay thai was legal in the state so I got used to smokers and fighting on the rez *shudder*.
BJJ didn't come until years later when I held on to some short lived dreams of stepping into the cage. I have no wrestling or other grappling background so I knew I needed something.
On top of other things, I was working in a cubicle 50 hours a week and watching my mood get worse and worse as the days went on. By Friday, I didn't want to talk to anyone, not even my own wife.
Being on the mat changed that. It was my outlet, a way for me to get out the tension of the week and a great way for people to break bad news to me. Just like the saying in the movie Fight Club, after rolling, the volume just got turned down in the rest of life, I could deal with anything.
But it's more than that. It went further for me. I started to get to know people in the game, not just in my own gym. I travelled to gyms, talked to the head instructors, got to know about the game itself, not just in my little corner. I started to find a voice that I didn't know I had.
I've been an introvert my whole life, quiet in school, not the kind of kid that really liked to be noticed. In BJJ I found myself, the person that I wish I had to courage to be earlier in life.
The fear in the rest of life drained away because I knew that when I was on the mat, I was free. I was the only one to control my own destiny. My mistakes were my own and only affected me. I found courage and motivation in my efforts and my pursuits. I learned to stand up and be accountable.
I became a better husband, a better son and I like to think it prepared me to be a good father.
You will learn a lot of things with jiu-jitsu, far more than just passing guards or stringing together submissions. You will learn your character as a person (for better or worse). You can lie to yourself and everyone else as much as you want, but the mat will always find the truth in what kind of a person you