What Does it Mean to Have a Team?

How Jiu-Jitsu offers you individuality and a family all in one on the mats, off the mats, and on competition day

Location: Sherwood Park, AB

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

“Standalone, together.” I read that quote recently, and for some reason, I seemed to process it differently than any other quote I’ve read throughout my life. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a team but do my own thing all at once. Until now, I could never muster up the right words to describe that. Being part of a Jiu-Jitsu team is the exact definition of that quote. When you’re on the mats, it’s just you out there. When you take a look at the sidelines, you’ll see a crowd of people – your people there supporting you no matter what happens in the next minutes to come.

I’ve been involved in sports for my whole life. It started with ballet and Taekwon-Do at 4 years old before I moved into soccer at around 6. Throughout the years, I tried lacrosse, kickboxing, wrestling, and I even played the drums for 5 years. This all came before I tried Jiu-Jitsu for the first time at 16, and it has stuck with me since. In fact, the only sports that I never moved from are Martial-Arts. For some reason, competing on my own was thrilling to me, even though I wasn’t ever alone in the first place. There were always people there to watch. Some were friends, some family, but most were people from my gym who belonged to my team, and having them there meant more than having any friend or family member present.

In the years of competition I’ve endured, there’s nothing more calming than seeing your team standing on the sidelines to watch you. It doesn’t matter if there’s only 1 of them, or 30. In the end, those are your people. The one’s who show up day in and day out to help you prepare for this moment- as you did the same for them. They’re the ones who have watched your Jiu-Jitsu grow and develop over time, and no amount of support from family or a close friend could top that because they don’t understand. The people that train on the mats with you are the ones who can relate to your nerves; they know the grueling weight cut, the hours of preparation, and the many tears that came along with it. They were always there on the mats with you until they’re not, and when they aren’t, they’re on the sidelines watching.

Being a part of a Jiu-Jitsu team is having the independence and ability to participate in something you love on your own with other people who also want to do the exact same thing. Read that again. You’re all standing alone… together. These people become a second family in the blink of an eye, and they will always be there to catch you when you fall, no matter how big the drop may be. This team means you’ll always have a friend in a time of need, and you’ll never go a day without a good laugh from one of the class clowns. It is truly one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, and to the people out there who haven’t yet had the chance to belong to a group like this – I suggest you buy a Gi and get on the mats as soon as possible. You won’t find people like this anywhere else.

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