“Good Things Take Time; What Comes Easy Goes Away Easily”
So you stopped in to see a class and saw a bunch of people “rolling”. What is a roll? What exactly did you see?
The langugage of Jiu Jitsu takes passion and practice.
Its certainly easy to fall out of love with Jiu Jitsu for a variety of reasons: the schedule never perfectly fits your busy schedule, the bumps, bruises and injuries along the way lead you and others to think you’re crazy, its not entirely cheap and well, to see noteworthy progress is difficult at times.
Two veteran practitioners of the art in a “roll” exchange moves, positions and essentially, a language, removing the verbal component most often associated with the word language, and replacing it through a defensive art form that resembles a sophsiticated body language.
A good roll is a cathartic experience, producing a series of receptors in the brain that can become rather addictive in its sensation. Roll well and it feels as if all the major neurotransmitters in the brain related to movement are thanking you, and providing clarity of the moment that a fast life often struggles to identify. The Wolf in Pulp Fiction once famously said ” I think fast, I talk fast, and I need you two guys to act fast if you want to get out of this”. Coincidentally this famous quote is sampled at the beginning of a well known Jiu Jitsu podcast. So if you’re a beginner, this is what you may be seeing (fast exchanges), (not fully understanding its intricacies), and it may seem weird, or too intense, at times.
Talking to veterans of the art…This degree of intensity (within rolling) varies greatly. The ridiculous notion of “if you go hard” you belong and if you don’t, you don’t, is cultish. It has no place in the art and its incredibly wide array of offerings. Consider each person’s purpose for starting the art and how many have changed that purpose along the way. Each one of us without seeing it clearly loves the autonomy our different individual journeys provide.
The varying degrees of rolling and its importance is better measured by this very simple exercise…..The next time you line up in class….Instead of peaking at everyone elses belt, rank and striping…..Only focus on yours. Each belt, each student, is on a different journey. Your journey is scripted by you and your Professor (all varying degrees). Worrying about someone elses rank is a waste of energy. What does rolling intensely teach us? When NOT to waste energy is a start.
In martial arts, whenever you can, practice humility. For when you look at the world you see way less of it then you imagine you see. Curiosity can always help you fall back in love with something you may be beginning to feel out of place with. Curiosity within jiu jitsu can be positional studies, re-building an area you’ve developed a deficency in, strengthening an area you want to master (studying) or examining a fellow training partners strength. All of these informational choices are also alternatives to rolling. Treating Jiu Jitsu as if its the killing fields is a fleeting approach that will blow up in your face when your body no longer can handle the vigorousness of your efforts.
What makes Jiu Jitsu so unique is the physical chess parallel. We can always improve. Theres no one specific way of going about it.