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DOES BJJ TRAINING CHANGE LIVES?
In my view, this largely depends on the instructor and the culture at any given academy.
Certainly, the study and practise of BJJ has the potential to change our lives for the better; but potential is one thing and actuality is another. Academies exist where bad behaviour, bad language, poor treatment of women and bullying seem to be the order of the day … very bad environments if the goal (or part thereof) is to improve lives.
BJJ is an art that requires dedication, focus, thinking, analysis, perseverance, etc … so there is infinite potential there for students to develop traits that will help them live their lives in better, more productive and more interesting ways … but instructor, in my view, needs to be ‘on board’ with the value of doing so.
Ideally, the instructor (him or herself), should have experienced positive transformation in their own lives as a result of their own study/practise. If the instructors life is a total shambles, it certainly doesn’t make for leadership by example.
To make progress in BJJ we necessarily come to an understanding of many principles, concepts and philosophical outlooks that we can also apply in life. Leverage - both on and off the mat. Attention to detail - both on and off the mat. Progression through small improvements - both on and off the mat. Perseverance yielding results - both on and off the mat. Action and reaction - both on and off the mat. And so on …
Although the instructor is probably the single most influential factor as to whether or not such benefits flow outward and into the students - each student can make it their own personal mission to get more out of their training that what the instructor is offering. Extracting maximum value from time spent training - is something that everyone of us can attend to - sometimes in spite of the environment we find ourselves in.