With Thanksgiving only having been a few days ago, I think this week’s edition of The Jiu-Jitsu Movement would be the appropriate time to say what I am thankful for in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I am thankful that…

1. There is never an offseason!

I will be the first to say that I am a huge baseball fan, and I particularly love my New York Yankees, but the season only goes from March to October, and in between I’m left with nothing – sulking and depressed. But with Jiu-Jitsu, I never feel that empty feeling with nothing to look forward to, because it is there for me every day! No matter what the weather is like or what holiday is around the corner, Jiu-Jitsu never leaves me. Although there are main periods where the biggest competitions happen, there are still competitions happening around the country every weekend, just on a smaller scale of course. I am thankful that with Jiu-Jitsu there is always something to train for, so there is never any reason to take three months off!

2. There is not one common style, everyone in the sport fights differently.

With any mainstream sport, there is always a commonality between athletes, like in basketball, except some are just simply better than others. But in Jiu-Jitsu, there are an infinite number of ways to play the game and have your own unique fighting style. Also, there is not one way to become successful. For example, look at Roger Gracie and Rafael Mendes – these two black belts have complete opposite games yet they may be the two best competitors in our sport today. Almost everyone is different! Some people prefer looking for a takedown, and fighting on top, while others prefer pulling guard and fighting off their back. Some play a more trickier game than others, going for uncommon submissions, while others may stick to the basics and still excel just as much as the “tricky” competitor. Everyone has a different style, and yet everyone is capable of being successful with his or her own style. Tell me, where do you see that in any other sport?

3. There is never an end to improving your Jiu-Jitsu.

Although it was definitely being over-exaggerated, the most interesting quote from Roger Gracie came after he won the World absolute title for the first time in 2007, when he said in a humble tone, “I am still just crawling in Jiu-Jitsu, I haven’t even begun to walk yet.”

Roger Gracie (Graciemag International)

At the time, how could anybody believe him when he had been in the absolute final every year since 2003, was (at the time) a four-time black belt World champion, and an ADCC champion? Yet, since then he has lost only one other time and possibly dominated even more so since then, so that made the following statement ring true: There is always room for improvement!

No matter how much you think you know, there is always more. Even the greatest Jiu-Jitsu practioners learn more from others and continually improve their game. The greatest Jiu-Jitsu player I have ever trained with, John Danaher, still continues to study YouTube videos in search of improving his game, even though no one in training can beat him! So, to the common man or woman who believe there is nothing more to learn after a certain point, you are wrong! There is never an end to the development and there is always the ability to continue to grow.

Those are the things I am thankful for in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; what are you thankful for?

Top Photo: Action from the No-Gi Worlds (Dan Rod/Graciemag International)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor

Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.