Part 17 of 21 improvements BJJ has had on my life. This series was inspired by Tangled Triangle: 21 Days of Improvement. You can read my Part 16 here!

17/21 Improvements from BJJ:  Looking at life differently

Instead of looking at life as a narrowing funnel, we can see it ever widening to choose the things we want to do, to take the wisdom we’ve learned and create something. – Liz Carpenter

Jiu Jitsu has given me a different perspective on life. Some minor changes, and some major. This was coupled with losing a lot of weight.

Some small perspective shifts: details for keeping myself safer: tucking in elbows and bracing myself on the train; sometimes what is intuitive is not the best course of action; ways of efficiently carrying heavy bags.

Others perspectives took me by surprise. In the past, I never would have dated an athlete, or any man with a great looking body. In the past, those were the men not to be trusted. But, I was a very large woman who cosplayed – the emotional risk was not worth it. Now, I would likely not date a man who was fat because in my mind he probably does not have a lifestyle compatible with mine. (Please note: of course there may be exceptions, but this would be my general attitude.) That is such a huge shift. I know on weight loss forums, many often feel offended or upset that people now find them attractive whereas when they were much larger they did not. Personally, I don’t really care – people are attracted to different body types, and if I see a guy who has a fit body, I know that we likely have an aspect of life in common.

"For boys"? Hardly! For JIU JITSU FOLKS!

“For boys”? Hardly! For JIU JITSU FOLKS!

I interact with people differently – I remember the first time having a boyfriend after doing jiu jitsu and feeling REALLY uncomfortable NOT sweeping him off me – because I had the underhook! Or he drapes an arm around my neck and I block the choke.

And finally, I am much more aware of sexism in advertising, in language, and in general. When I look at a picture of a jiu jitsu class, I immediately look for how many women are pictured. I notice how people talk to female athletes. I note the use of the word “girl” to refer to a woman in jiu jitsu. I take notice of the male to female ratio, of intentionally including more women, of people either supporting/fostering women in our sport, or subtley or not-so-subtley dismissing/othering/alienating women. I don’t specifically look for it – it’s there, and I mentally collate that data.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: How has jiu jitsu (or your sport) shifted your perspective? What things do you notice differently now?