Since the early days of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu first spreading outside the country of origin Brasil and throughout the world, Jiu-Jitsu culture has evolved along with the techniques of the art themselves. The philosophy of “Jiu-jitsu for everyone” is a significant factor behind the world wide expansion of the art. And the most important role in this expansion belongs to the individual practitioner.
In the earlier days of Jiu-Jitsu in North America, BJJ was synonymous with “No Holds Barred” or the “Vale Tudo” fighting roots in Brasil. The first wave of jiu-jitsu schools were filled with tough guys with cauliflower ears and intensely competition oriented.
While these academies produced legitimately tough guys they were also limited. This approach can be seen as “Jiu-Jitsu for a select few.” Unfortunately, Jiu-Jitsu suffered from an image problem in Brasil in the early days, as a number of Jiu-Jitsu fighters were involved in violent street confrontations.
Since those early days and through the efforts of Jiu-Jitsu’s senior leaders and visionaries, Jiu-Jitsu has evolved to be the martial art that millions of people are enjoying all over the world. Master Carlos Gracie Jr. boldly expressed his vision to see a Jiu-Jitsu academy in every city in the world.
Yes, the individual student of Jiu-Jitsu is important in terms of being an ambassador for the art of Jiu-Jitsu. As you meet people in other areas of your social life, you will be the first exposure for them that Jiu-Jitsu even exists. People will form an impression of Jiu-Jitsu largely based on how you represent yourself and the art.
Speaking positively about the benefits of training; the health benefits that one enjoys from the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle: the satisfaction of meeting the challenges of learning Jiu-Jitsu all go a long ways to growing interest in Jiu-Jitsu. In the back of the mind of many Jiu-Jitsu students is the fact that they have found an activity that has improved their lives and they wish to share what they have discovered with others.
Your individual enthusiasm for and positive representation of Jiu-Jitsu may influence someone to try a class. If they stick to it, you have yet another valuable training partner!
The more new people who become students, the stronger and healthier the academy. The academy is now able to offer more class times, perhaps even expand to a bigger mat space and nicer facility with every amenity.
Grandmaster Carlos Gracie has a list of beliefs that he called the Commandments of Jiu-jitsu. Some of these ideas are important for those students who wish to represent Jiu-Jitsu in a positive way.
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