Jiu-Jitsu Letter


There was a time when being an amateur was a good thing. Someone did something for the love of it. That’s where the word came from. But over time, the word also came to describe something else: someone incompetent at something.

It’s too bad, because being an amateur at jiu-jitsu isn’t a bad thing. If you love to train, that’s all you need. But because of social media, influencers and “content creators”, it’s gotten to a point where if you’re not making money off something, you’re called an amateur, and that’s somehow something to avoid.

I had a conversation this morning with some friends about how I avoided social media until purple belt. It wasn’t because I knew better. I’d read enough to know that Facebook was a bad thing, so I never engaged. I did go on YouTube and watch BJJ documentaries and instructional videos. But it wasn’t until much later that I discovered there was a lot to see on BJJ Instagram. I was just an amateur, training jiu-jitsu because I loved it.

I’m certain that if I was starting BJJ today, and addicted to social media, I wouldn’t last long enough to get to black belt. I’d be envious. I’d be depressed. I’d quit.

Be OK with being an amateur. It’s OK not to compete. People that love playing basketball at the park, just play. People that love golf, just golf. They aren’t making money off their hobbies. They’re amateurs. They love what they’re doing, and that’s all they need to keep going.

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