Jiu-Jitsu From Home
There are dozens of life events that can cause you to take a break from jiu-jitsu class. You may simply feel overwhelmed by responsibilities at work, at school, or at home. You may also need to recuperate after an illness or an injury. Then again, a big change may temporarily keep you from the gym, such as starting a new job, the birth of a child, or needing to care for a sick family member. Jiu-jitsu is important, but the health and well-being of you and your family are always more important. In any of these instances, you should simply tell your instructor that you need some time away.
However, there are scenarios where you may need to take an extended or indefinite leave from jiu-jitsu. For example, you may move to a community without a jiu-jitsu gym, you may lose the ability to reliably travel to class, or your local gym may only offer classes at times when you are unavailable. For someone in a place like New York City, this may all sound weird, but there are parts of the country where the closest gym is an hour away and only open for a few hours in the evening. If you work nights, getting to class simply isn’t possible.
For those who are in this kind of situation, it is still possible to do jiu-jitsu, especially if your goals are fairly modest and include learning the basics of self-defense and practicing jiu-jitsu to stay in shape. As Ryan Young of Kama Jiu-Jitsu in Texas says in the below video, “Look for the reasons to do something rather than the reasons not to do something.”
Though Ryan recorded the above video during the COVID-19 lockdown, a lot of the solutions he mentions apply in any scenario where you suddenly find yourself without access to a jiu-jitsu gym. First and foremost, he recommends staying active. You burn a lot of calories when at jiu-jitsu class and you will quickly start to notice a difference if you’re suddenly spending way more of your free time on the couch or in front of a computer.
While going to a gym with a lot of equipment will certainly prevent you from packing on the pounds, this option may also not be available. However, you can still hike, walk, or run. You can work out with virtually no equipment by doing yoga or calisthenics. You can also do simple weight training exercises with just a few pieces of equipment like bands, kettlebells, or weights. Just because you may have limited space doesn’t mean you have limited options.
Finding Training Partners
If possible, another option is that you can train in your house or at a friend’s house. As Ryan explains, all you really need are a few mats to keep everyone protected. Of course, the more difficult part may be finding others who will participate with you, but you can always invite a coworker, a friend, or a neighbor with whom to practice. You can even get your spouse or child involved.
The latter option may raise some eyebrows. However, anyone who has spent time in a jiu-jitsu gym will know that jiu-jitsu was designed to be a self-defense system for people of smaller stature. It gives them the tools to level the playing field and to neutralize some of the advantages that a taller or stronger person might have. Obviously, you shouldn’t go at 100% with your eight-year-old, especially if you have no training. However, if you’re a few years into your jiu-jitsu journey, there is no harm in teaching them some basic moves when they’re younger, and then getting a bit more physical as they become older and more experienced.
Finding an Online Program
Whether you’re learning with a partner or by yourself, it can be difficult to find an online curriculum that really helps you grow. In a lot of cases, there’s no progression that allows you to build off of previous lessons. Instead, you are just introduced to a variety of techniques, but you never get the opportunity to seriously focus on one and become good at it. You may end up finding a few with which you’re comfortable, and then never really exploring beyond that. While this approach may be better than nothing, you really need to learn more than just a few moves of jiu-jitsu to be proficient and to protect yourself in the real world. Jiu-jitsu should take you out of your comfort zone.
No surprise, Ryan recommends Kama’s online curriculum, but there are several other options associated with the Gracies. What you really want to look for in white and blue belt training modules are lesson plans that build on previous elements of the curriculum and teach the fundamentals of jiu-jitsu. Secondly, you want to make sure that there is some kind of evaluation. As Ryan points out, you need to be held accountable and you want someone monitoring your progress and making sure that you’re actually putting in the work.