Every day at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu Baltimore, small miracles happen on the mats. Students learn a new skill, overcome a challenge or do something they have never done before. Through practice, they start to transform, inside and outside. They build strength; they develop power; they gain confidence. These are the miracles that happen every day at Zenyo.
“Despite my limitation I kept coming to class. Then, I noticed my knees didn’t hurt as much and I could kneel on them for longer. As I reflected on how much I was improving, my limitations were slowly disappearing.”
– Ed Bryant Jr., 64
Ben started training one year ago at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu Baltimore. He is the smallest person in class, weighing about 125 pounds. He will never be able to out muscle other students who may weigh 100 pounds more than him. His only way to success is by mastering the first skill of Jiu Jitsu.
The word Jiu Jitsu may be translated loosely as “the art of gaining victory by yielding or pliancy.”
Building strength that is flexible — strong but not stiff — is the first skill in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Students start to create a pliant armour to protect their bodies. They learn how to handle being bumped, pushed, hit and knocked down. They learn how yielding to force can weaken its strength.
Building your body like this enables you to withstand impacts that might have seemed impossible before training.
Ben was recently forced to put this lesson to use off the mats. He was crossing the street in Baltimore when he was struck by a car.
He described how the car bumped him and threw him over the hood. He was almost in awe, when he described how he reacted instinctively from his Jiu Jitsu training. He yielded to the energy, relaxing instead of tensing. He rolled with the impact and landed on his feet on the other side.
At Zenyo, rolling and falling are an essential part of the curriculum. All students learn to fall safely, both forward and backward. We had been working these drills before Ben’s accident.
Amazingly, he sustained no injuries, other than being sore and bruised.
Ben attributed his training to helping him survive a life-threatening accident. “I think the back roll drills we did helped avoid getting hurt when I went over the car’s hood,” he said.
This kind of flexible strength is one of the miracles of training in Jiu Jitsu.
Ben, right, trains with Naz at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu. Ben used his training to protect himself when he was struck by a car while walking.
One of the most dedicated students at Zenyo is Ed Bryant Jr., 64.
Ed shows up for practice consistently two to three times a week. He is proof that practice is power.
If you want to change your life, to go beyond the limitations of what seems possible, you must begin with practice. This is what we do in Jiu Jitsu. We practice. Then we practice some more.
Ed was 61 years old when he decided to try out Jiu Jitsu. Though new to Jiu Jitsu, he is a life-long martial arts student, with multiple black belts. He has had many battles over the years, and those battles left scars. His knees, hips and back were welded together like steel.
The movements of Jiu Jitsu were nearly impossible for him when he started. So we set out working on little things he could do, trying to expand his capabilities, bit by bit.
Ed Bryant Jr., 64, is a blue belt at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu.
Ed practiced these small steps almost every day. He practiced at home, in the gym, in his mind. He practiced simple movements to build up his body and loosen his stiff joints. In the process, he not only lost 40 pounds but became a different person.
“Most people my age fall down and can’t get up,” he said. “For me it was the opposite, I couldn’t stay up because I kept falling down.
“Despite my limitation I kept coming to class,” he said. “As I continued coming to class, I noticed my knees didn’t hurt as bad and I was able to kneel on them longer without falling over. As a matter of fact, I was starting to last a little longer during sparring without feeling like I was going to pass out from exhaustion. As I reflected on how much I was improving, my limitations were slowly disappearing. What was more unexpected about everything, I was having fun doing it.”
Ed’s small practice created small changes; these changes became a small miracle.
This is one of the amazing powers of Jiu Jitsu, through practice what was once impossible becomes possible.
A positive mindset and a little confidence can produce small miracles. Students just need to believe and they can achieve amazing things.
Liam is a great example. Only 3 years old when he started children’s Jiu Jitsu classes at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu, he was by far the smallest and youngest student in a class filled with 6 to14 year olds.
To start class, students run, jump, roll, bear crawl and perform fun movements to develop skill, strength and coordination. All the students love the start of class. All, except Liam. As an exercise was called out, Liam would immediately respond, “I can’t.”
“You just have to try, Liam,” I’d tell him. “I can’t,” he’d say. “You don’t have to be good,” I’d say. “Just try.”
Mindset is everything. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right,” Henry Ford said.
I tell our Zenyo Jiu Jitsu students in Baltimore that no one is good when they start Jiu Jitsu. We are all bad. I tell them the first step to being good is being bad, that no one will make fun of them for being bad, and if they try and work hard, they will get better.
Liam Wilson, 6, has been training for three years in the children’s jiu jitsu classes at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu.
“Do your best,” I say, “even if it’s not very good.”
Three years later, Liam is a changed young man. He embraces every challenge; he works hard. New students marvel at his toughness and technique. When those new students struggle, just like he did, and look not to give a good effort, I’ll call to Liam.
“Liam, do we say ‘I can’t’ in Jiu Jitsu?”
“No,” he replies. “What do we say?”
“Try your best,” he will say.
It’s all in the mindset.
Small Miracles of Jiu Jitsu
Jiu Jitsu gives students a path to improve in life — to build strength, develop power and gain confidence. At Zenyo Jiu Jitsu Baltimore, we see small miracles on the mats every day.
A student learns to fall and roll safely, and then uses those skills in real life. Another learns that it is never too late to grow and improve in life. A young boy learns that if he does his best, he will be able to accomplish tasks he thought he couldn’t.
These are the small miracles of Jiu Jitsu; but they are really not small at all.
Are You Ready To Make Your Own Miracle?
Join us at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu Baltimore to get started on your way to strength, power and confidence.