9 Reasons Christians Should Do Jiu Jitsu in 2017 | Grappling with Theology

Most Americans started 2017 with a New Years Resolution likely revolving around fitness or weight loss. New Years Resolutions for Christians often revolve around spiritual disciplines such as bible reading and prayer. Starting Jiu Jitsu (also called BJJ) in 2017 will help the Christian achieve both goals, and below are 9 good reason for you to find an academy and sign up for lessons in 2017.

LOVE

From the Greek word “Agape”, this kind of love is depicting a love by choice rather than chance (Philos). It is a selfless love, asking nothing in return.

If you’re like me, you struggle with this character trait. Love is so central to Christianity that scripture says without it you don’t know God (1 John 4:8). How can BJJ help you be more loving? Jesus taught that love of neighbor (as well as love of God) is the greatest commandment.

BJJ is the perfect self defense martial art. Once you learn to defend yourself, you can effectively defend others. You may be in a situation where you’re forced to defend or protect complete strangers, or even your enemy. You don’t have to look far on YouTube videos of the effectiveness of BJJ in self defense situations.

Evangelism is the greatest manifestation of Christian love. Your Christian testimony on the mats can be a powerful one. My school is owned by a Christian man who holds bible studies on the mats every Wednesday. Imagine his impact on those who would never step foot into a church!

JOY

Joy is much deeper than mere happiness and is rooted in God Himself. British evangelist George Campbell Morgan said “Joy is love’s consciousness”.

BJJ will bring you joy! You will marvel at the capability of the human body. God created our bodies with capabilities far greater than you can imagine! Find joy in the strength God has given you.

PEACE

The word “peace” comes from the Greek word “eirene.” It expresses the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by the outward circumstances or pressures.

Peace of mind comes when you learn how to handle yourself under stress. The longer you train, the more you will realize that in a fight, you are not forced to be a victim. YOU dictate the circumstances and knowing that will bring you peace. This is particularly true if you’re a victim of bullying or a woman who wants to learn self-defense.

PATIENCE

Jiu Jitsu is not an art of instant gratification; quite the opposite. In many martial arts, a person can earn a black belt in 4 years or less and belt promotions are frequent. The average Jiu Jitsu practitioner takes 8 to 12 years to earn their black belt.

Statistics show that many will stop training once they earn a blue belt. Most will earn blue belts in their first year or two, but could be a blue belt for as long as 3 to 5 years. Instructors commonly attribute this to a lack of patience and a sense of comfort.

A BJJ blue belt is more than capable of defending themselves in a fight if needed. About 1% of all people who start BJJ will earn a black belt. Those patient enough to earn a black belt quickly realize they are just getting started.

In the beginning you will lose. A LOT. Frustration is common. There is a saying in Jiu Jitsu which I will paraphrase for you: “In Jiu Jitsu you either win or you learn, you never lose.”

KINDNESS

From Strong’s #5544, kindness is goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, kindness, affability.

The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control, and BJJ can sharpen you in these qualities as you progress in your abilities on the mats.

One might think that a martial arts academy is the last place you might find kindness. Quite the contrary! The kindness of your training partner combined with the experience of the instructor guarantees an environment that is safe and fun.

In training, your partner will often be a secondary teacher. In turn you will find yourself becoming a teacher as you train with less experienced partners.
Why would I help my sparring partner choke me more effectively? Because I know that in a tournament or a fight that he will fall back on his training. Defeat can be a side effect of bad training.

I want to help my teammates win because I love them. I want what’s best for them. The kindest thing I can do is help them become better, which may one day save their life or the life of someone they love.

GOODNESS

I love Strong’s concordance’s definition here. From the Greek word “agathosune” it means most simply “uprightness of heart and life.”

Our testimony is on display everywhere, and the academy is no exception. We have an opportunity to display goodness in a biblical way on the mats! When my training partners are using profanity in their casual speech or in frustration on the mats, I am often tempted to do the same.

However, I want to be like Jesus, not just at church but in life! When things aren’t going my way, I must display biblical uprightness of heart and life. When God gives us the opportunity to share the Good News with our training partners we won’t be seen as hypocrites if we’ve displayed biblical goodness.

FAITHFULNESS

Faithfulness is committing oneself to something or someone, i.e. to one’s spouse, cause, or religion. Being faithful requires personal resolve, not to wander away from commitments or promises.

Faithfulness is difficult, but your training partners count on it! Even if you’re a brand new white belt there is a blue belt or a purple belt who needs you there to master their technique.

A blue belt at my school of similar size has expressed gratitude to me just for being there and working hard. There are quite a few skinny, nimble fellows in my academy and quite a few muscle heads as well. The two of us stand as the only ‘big boys’. I have the body type he will compete against in tournaments. Rolling with me simulates what he will face in competition.

Jesus said “I will never leave you or forsake you” with regard to his church. Without twisting the scripture too much let’s have that attitude toward our academy and our training partners. And if by God’s grace He brings your training partners to faith, then your faithfulness will go far beyond the mat into discipleship. Helping them choose a church, a bible reading program, and navigation of the Christian life now becomes your duty.

GENTLENESS

Biblical gentleness is a disposition that is even-tempered, tranquil, balanced in spirit, unpretentious, and that has the passions under control. The word is best translated ‘meekness,’ not as an indication of weakness, but of maintaining control over your power and strength.

The person who displays gentleness pardons transgressions and personal insults, corrects faults, and rules his own spirit well. This is the heart of Jiu Jitsu! Jiu Jitsu literally means “The Gentle Art” and while it hardly seems gentle to choke a man with his own uniform, consider the alternatives of other martial arts which as a first option offer striking, punching and kicking.

In a Jiu Jitsu competition there is no striking but in a self defense scenario, force is scalable and is dictated by the situation. Striking is not necessary in all fights. BJJ gives you options to use the least force necessary, and to escalate when necessary as well, up to and including striking. No other martial art gives you this option, and I believe this makes BJJ the perfect martial art for Christians.

SELF CONTROL

The Greek word used in Galatians 5:23 is “egkrateia”, meaning “strong, having mastery, able to control one’s thoughts and actions.”

BJJ will humble you. You will realize that you’re not as tough as you thought. Self control is key in dealing with the many frustrations that come with being new to BJJ.

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

You probably noticed that my list contains each of the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ from Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

The Christian will display the Fruit of the Spirit in all areas of life. Jiu Jitsu will bring an increase in your spiritual fruit. It is for this reason I recommend all Christians learn BJJ in 2017.

Listen closely. Ignore the voice in your head telling you that you’re too old, too fat, too inflexible to do Jiu Jitsu. Your body is capable of far more than you give it credit for! It’s not that uncommon for men over 50 to start, so what’s stopping you? If they can do it, if I can do it, so can you. If you want to lose weight and/or grow in spiritual disciplines in 2017, Jiu Jitsu can help you accomplish both.

6 Comments
  1. Holy Holm 10 months ago

    This article has got to be a joke! I think someone was choking Len when he wrote this. There certainly was not enough oxygen in his brain when he wrote this one!

  2. Joseph Moffitt 10 months ago

    Nice article!

  3. J 5 months ago

    As a Christian brother doing BJJ, what is your take on rolling with the opposite sex when you are married?

  4. Chris 3 months ago

    Let’s not forget that Jesus himself did Jiu Jitsu in the Bible. In Genesis, Jacob wrestled with God as a man incarnate(Jesus) and got a dislocated joint because he didn’t tap. Afterwards, he was promoted(blessed with a new name).
    Gen 32:22-32

  5. Jace 1 week ago

    Thanks so much for this article.
    I’m New to jujitsu and also a Christian.

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