Finding Purpose Within Your Jiu Jitsu Journey

It is never too early to give back to the community

Gold Coast, Australia 

Pictured Bruninho Barbosa & Dylan Edwards. Photograph by Ong Chen Fei

Interviewee: Bruninho Barbosa

Born in Petropolis, a city north of Rio de Janerio, Bruninho Barbosa earned his black belt in 2007. Bruninho realized early on he wanted to utilize jiu-jitsu as a tool to help others. A successful and decorated athlete, he found a strong sense of fulfillment in being able to inspire his students through his words and actions. Witnessing their growth and guiding them to become the best versions of themselves gives him the greatest sense of achievement. Bruninho is a big advocate of embracing and enjoying the journey. He explains that jiu-jitsu is not just the techniques you learn on the mats or the medals you win. He believes the true beauty of jiu-jitsu lies within the life lessons you learn and how the art changes your life off the mats. Mental resilience, problem-solving, and remaining calm under pressure and in uncomfortable situations are some of the things Bruninho highlights. He encourages everyone to explore how jiu-jitsu can benefit them and strives to nurture and harness the strengths and work on each student’s weaknesses.

Jiu-Jitsu requires an immense amount of time to master. Even then, most black belts will tell you that learning truly begins once you earn your black belt. Unfortunately, we live in a society that desires constant progress that is tangible. As humans, we are hard-wired to want immediate payoffs from our efforts. Throughout the journey from white to black belt, it is easy to become frustrated. We are faced with multiple plateaus and challenges. Coming into Jiu-jitsu with a fixed mindset of having to constantly win and progress quickly through belts often leads to mental exhaustion. Often this desire to attain perfection on the mats leads to many quitting Jiu-Jitsu. Although he actively encourages his students to compete, Bruninho acknowledges not every student of his desires to become a World champion. There are those who train jiu-jitsu for their mental health and those who do so to socialize and make friends. Therefore, Bruninho wants his students to find greater purpose and figure out their “WHY” for being on the mats. 

Many of us believe a black belt is necessary and often a requirement to make an impact on our community. Bruninho is quick to point out that you can help your community and give back right from the beginning. He often stresses the importance of giving back and helping those around you. Some give back to the community through organizing events. Hosting competitions and seminars helps bring the jiu-jitsu community together whilst spreading awareness to the greater population. Others find the teachings of jiu-jitsu applicable and useful in their daily lives, using them to improve relationships with their family. Whatever your reasons may be for starting your journey, it is important to figure out why you stay the course. There will be difficult days that make you want to quit, and life will throw you curveballs. If you manage to find joy within your jiu-jitsu community and recognize the many ways jiu-jitsu improves your life, you will find it much easier to get through the tough days.

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