Part 21 of 21 improvements BJJ has had on my life. I AM FINALLY FINISHED! Blogging challenged DONE! This series was inspired by Tangled Triangle: 21 Days of Improvement. You can read my Part 20 here!

21/21 Improvements from BJJ:  The Value of Trying

For me, it’s the stick-to-it-ness that I value. It’s the weekly consistency. It’s the value of sticking with something you’re terrible at, because eventually you become not-terrible at it.

never give up, never surrender

I was talking to a friend and she said she was embarrassed that she couldn’t cook with spices. I asked why she couldn’t cook with spices, and she said it was because she didn’t do it. “So you’re embarrassed that you are not good at something you are a beginner at?”

I find this is the same with jiu jitsu. Folks try it, they feel stupid, or they feel the need to apologize for not being good. Then they quit because they’re apparently not getting better. They stop trying – they surrender.

This trying can also be in class. Not giving up on yourself or your partner mentally. You go into class and you attempt moves, even if you suck at them.

I’m not saying no one should ever quit jiu jitsu – that’s ludicrous. What I am saying is that if you WANT to do it, don’t quit because you don’t do it well. Don’t quit because you feel stupid. Try, try, try. Years of trying WILL pay off. People respect people who try hard! There is deep value in trying.


a. Fun ways of self expression, including via pedicure, BJJ fashion, gis, etc.

My toes went viral on Facebook

My toes went viral on Facebook

b. Actively encouraging women. I have always enjoyed encouraging girls and women, and I’m now getting to the “role model belt” level (see middle toe in picture).

c. The importance of details. How you turn your hips, what you grab, where you place your hands – these details matter. They’re small, but important. It’s the same in life – it’s the difference between how I clean and how my housekeeper cleans. She makes it look amazing, I make it look sloppy. 🙁

d. Not everything really matters at the start. Okay, so that white belt grabbed wrong, had too much space, didn’t quite turn right. They’re beginners, and they’re getting the gross motions. Details come with time. Not everything has to be absolutely perfect from the beginning. Too much nitpicking can lead to deep frustration.

e. Mindful schedule. In order to do jiu jitsu, I have to make time for it. This means that other important things need to be scheduled around it.

f. An object in motion stays in motion. I’m active and this is something that will continue. It seems impossible I ever got off the couch – now I don’t want to go back. Well, that’s sort of a lie – I just don’t want to go back to my sedentary life.

g. The importance of consistency. Starting things with enthusiasm and excitement is great, but what’s more important is the continuation. This is the same with jobs, with hobbies, with life. One big push at the beginning is not the most important thing ever.

So there you have it: 21 improvements + BONUS improvements that BJJ has given me in my life. Whew! Glad that blogging challenge is OVER!

Jiu Jiu’s Note: What are the biggest improvements you’ve seen in your life because of BJJ or your sport?