About a year ago - I was excited to put on my jiu-jitsu gi and begin another typical training session. At the start of jiu jitsu class, I noticed a BJJ beginner and asked if he wanted to be my partner for the day. It seemed like he was anxious and terrified, not of the mat or the martial arts environment but something else in his life. His emotions reminded me of myself as a child. I wanted to learn more so I could help him. The reason why he began training jiu-jitsu opened my eyes to the traumatic realization of a serious threat to youth and society.
As the class began, he became frantic in asking me more questions about how he could fight better. This mindset overwhelmed me as even the most ambitious martial artists that I have partnered with did not have the same hunger to learn. It seemed as his confidence was stolen. He was searching for answers.
We continued with the class and I knew he had a champion’s mentality. After the training, he asked me to show him more Brazilian jiu jitsu moves. I am by no means a qualified instructor; however, he was anxious about learning that he asked me to teach him more in a stuttered and frightened voice. I couldn’t refuse to show what I learned.
Why Many Youth BJJ Practitioners Begin Training In Jiu Jitsu
I found out the reason why he was here was that he was bullied for factors outside of his control and to no fault of his own. As soon as he told me what he experienced, I immediately felt empathy. It was a sudden reminder that although my confidence has been built over years of training there is still a growing problem of bullying.
I ended up showing him something that worked well when controlling aggressive bullies when I was around his age, the muay thai clinch. I explained the effectiveness of this technique and how it is effective in controlling the aggressor and even bring the fight to the ground resulting in a top sprawl position leading into a choke.
After demonstrating this simple technique, I was waiting for my ride home and talked with a man sitting alone. It was the child’s father. He looked just as anxious as his son. His concern for his son’s wellbeing was proof that this problem was serious. I thanked him for bringing him in and told him my story in hopes that he will be relieved of his own anxiety.
Jiu-Jitsu Helped Him Gain His Confidence Back.
The next day I was excited to see him return and ready to learn more BJJ. His progression as a martial artist and confidence dramatically improved. It was amazing to see him become more comfortable with himself and other students as well.
It seemed like he was happy to become a part of the BJJ family. Honestly, he was a natural. He gained some impressive skills quickly, which may have contributed to his improved confidence.
His case is not the only one. There have been tons of BJJ stories just like this all over the world. As martial artists, many of us begin training for this exact reason. After years of training, it can be easy to forget where we came from and how we might be that anxious kid training to defend against a bully.
Zac Cunningham’s Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Story
After being bullied, he was introduced to BJJ and continued to work towards his new goal of being the best version of himself. Zac dedicated himself and now teaches jiu jitsu classes at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California. It is mind-blowing to see how much of a transformation its made for him. This interview is an example of how a victim of bullying can benefit from Gracie jiu-jitsu.
Snippet from the article: From Being Bullied To Being A Jiu-Jitsu Inspiration
Mikey Hothi’s BJJ Story
From being bullied to being an active competitor, Mikey managed to turn his bad experiences into inspiration for others thanks to Brazilian jiu jitsu training.
Through the guidance of Cesar Gracie and the Diaz brothers, Mikey has become a role model in both the BJJ world and his local community through his actions as a politician and teaching others at the Nick Diaz Academy.
Make sure to read the full jiu-jitsu interview here: I Was Pretty Lost Before I Started Training
Solo Training in Submission Shark Jiu Jitsu Gi Pants
How Submission Shark Supported A BJJ Youth
It was heartbreaking yet inspiring to learn about a similar case going on in one of our customers. I was excited to learn how Brazilian jiu jitsu helped this Submission Shark become fulfilled and empowered. Thanks to his local jiu-jitsu gym, he was able to find some great friends within his training partners.
Unfortunately, due to a sudden closure of martial arts gyms all across the world and an official order to socially distance from the government, the plans for a great birthday surprise was ruined.
This youth BJJ practitioner found fulfillment and happiness from martial arts. He returned the joy by providing us with the opportunity to help create this moment for him and his family.
Do you know anyone that would love brand new BJJ gear?
We hope to be able to provide this type of joy to other BJJ practitioners. If you would like to show your support, feel free to shop for new a new BJJ gi and jiu jitsu gear that will empower you and support your training. Submission Shark provides limited edition premium BJJ Gis, no-gi BJJ rash guards and jiu-jitsu spats that will have you training in luxury.