Adaptation with Respect to Jiu Jitsu

By Elisabeth Clay

The ability to flex and change with the demands or needs of the current condition (or upcoming competition) is by nature the only way to stay relevant. If we do not adapt — only wait for what fits the current condition — to train or prepare, then we are behind and not current.  

Let us Look at How This Will Play Into Jiu Jitsu

When we start jiu jitsu, we just train until we have competed. We really do not have the perspective on what we are training for or even how to train effectively. We simply listen to our professor. The more we test our individual jiu jitsu, the more understanding we have as to what is most efficient and effective for us as the individual. In time we develop our own style. See, in this process the individual has adapted to their body and physical condition, and to their opponents’ body and style. Each test of the opponent challenges our ability to make the next adaptation. Every match, training session, rule set, competition, and venue all require modification. Therefore, as jiu jitsu practitioners, if we are staying relevant and on top of the sport, we are changing by the minute. We are in a constant flux. If we stop, then we are letting someone get ahead of us. Now that the world is in a regular state of change, politically and practically, how do we keep up with this too?   

Well, the best answer I can think of is modify, and don’t stop. We get home gyms, travel to “secret” training, go to states and clubs where training is still happening, and do something to keep training. In my opinion, we should be do all that we can for ourselves and our compadres. Much of the need for adaptation at the moment is simply for the athletes, our academy, and our sport to survive and hopefully still flourish. 

Thank you to Those Organizations that Still Support the Sport of Jiu Jitsu.

If it was not for organizations like Fight 2 Win, Flograppling, Third Coast Grappling, Submission on the Shore, and others, the competitive sport would have stagnated. I am grateful for them giving us a platform to forge the competitors during this time of instability. It is said that the athlete does not use motivation alone but, when motivation fails, discipline kicks in. These organizations have the discipline and skill to work with the states and municipalities to be able to provide a solution for competitors. Hopefully more will step up to the plate and continue to push ahead. We need them to continue to adapt and conquer. 

Our mat companies, like Zebra Athletics made it possible for so many athletes to have home gyms and continue training. We may not have had the best training, but because of their evolution with the situation, we had something. While I do not know I can only imagine the amount of work to make many home studios was. 

Some of the academies have done a magnificent job of maneuvering around and through the obstacles. I gained a great admiration for Tanner Rice and others who contacted attorneys and got their guys back on the mats. Others have had great creativity and adaptation as well, moving to garages and homes. Whatever it took to work around the obstacles. The resiliency that professors and athletes alike demonstrated to push ahead through all of this must make us stronger. Not unlike Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, who said:  

“One tiny Hobbit against all the evil the world could muster. A sane being would have given up, but Samwise burned with a magnificent madness, a glowing obsession to surmount every obstacle, to find Frodo, destroy the Ring, and cleanse Middle Earth of its festering malignancy. He knew he would try again. Fail, perhaps. And try once more. A thousand, thousand times if need be, but he would not give up the quest.” 

I truly believe that by the nature of jiu jitsu, we are survivors; we are adaptors. We will meet on more and more martial arts mats as we continue to evolve and change every minute, every hour, of every day. We will be stronger if we do NOT quit, if we continue to fight. We fight to learn, fight to become, and fight to win! ~ Become your lion or lioness.

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