About a month ago, there was a survey circulating called “Women in Gaming, 2016.” I am a gamer, and I passed it along to the gamer women. A friend of a friend remarked that she didn’t feel she was a gamer.

I think there is a strong parallel to any kind of hobby or sport that we do: is it an activity you do, or is it part of your identity? At what point do you decide or declare this? I remember feeling that way about jiu jitsu when I started, but I absolutely waited to claim it as part of my identity until I got my blue belt. It’s so common for folks to start out with all the enthusiasm and good intention, then die off quickly due to schedule or money or whatever. A gal dropped by the gym and stated she’d come to every single class. I brought a gi for her to borrow, but didn’t hold my breath. She never returned. I wasn’t surprised.

Other folks keep jiu jitsu as simply an activity that they do. For sure, an activity they enjoy, but it isn’t something they claim as part of their identity. Consider the following:

  • Musician vs someone who plays music
  • Chef vs someone who likes cooking
  • Poet vs someone who enjoys writing poems
  • Weight lifter vs someone who lifts
  • Hiker vs someone who hikes


Some of the identity tags in my own life: jiu jitsuka, cross-stitcher, Trekkie, teacher, blogger, and gamer. Some things I enjoy as activities but do not identify with: cosplayer, weight lifter, drawing, and camping.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: is BJJ (or whatever activity you do) part of your identity or simply an activity you do? What is the difference to you? Please share your list of your identity vs activities you love!