Why I love . . . Brazilian jiu-jitsu

‘Jiu-jitsu is the ultimate in self-defence and that’s a skill I believe everyone should have’

Aaron Burke grappling with his sparring partner

Aaron Burke grappling with his sparring partner

 

Trying to solve a 200lb Rubik’s cube that’s fighting back. If you “roll”, you’ll know that this is the perfect metaphor for Brazilian jiu-jitsu or BJJ. I fell in love with the sport 18 months ago and now it’s one of those things I wonder how I ever lived without it.

I’m a personal trainer in Absolute Fitness Galway and I have been immersed in sports and fitness my entire life. My first day in Shaolin MMA Galway was amazing. BJJ is the ultimate stress-management tool. Life’s problems seem much smaller after 60 minutes of fight-for-your-life scenarios. 

A typical training session involves a warm-up, one hour of technique drills and then some light sparring or “rolling” to put those skills to the test. BJJ is a ground-based martial art where you use techniques to control a resisting opponent and submit them by various joint-locks and chokes. In a nutshell, you bend people until they ask you to stop using the sacred “tap” commonly seen in the UFC.

Aaron Burke (right) with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu sparring partners
Aaron Burke (right) with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu sparring partners

For those wondering about injuries, I will say that you will go home with an achy shoulder or elbow once or twice, and your ego might have a problem with being tapped out by an 18-year-old girl who weighs half of what you do. It took me seven or eight achy elbows to learn that if you tap fast and tap often you can avoid injury. 

BJJ is the ultimate in self-defence and that’s a skill I believe everyone should have. I’m relatively fresh in the game but I have peace of mind that if I ever needed to defend myself, family or friends I would be capable. My flexibility, physique, cardiovascular endurance, and strength have all improved thanks to BJJ, but most importantly, my confidence is at a level I never thought possible. See you on the mats! 

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