AZ Jiu-Jitsu Family

Jiu-Jitsu Family Part 2 – Ryan Finds a Foster Family

Ryan Sellick Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Last week we posted a blog about the Jiu-Jitsu Family, and how joining a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym is so much more than a hobby, exercise routine, or sport.

Recently, I relocated to Tucson, Arizona to pursue new career opportunities. My coach, James Clingerman (Indiana Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy), recommended that I check out Undisputed Tucson with Head Coach David Reilly. I learned they have been friends for years, and James Clingerman even taught a seminar at Undisputed in July of this year.

Moving from Indianapolis to Tucson is a big deal to me; an enormous change. Not only is it a change in scenery, but an opportunity to completely change my life—to launch my career, and to put the philosophy I’ve built in gestation over the past 10 years into consistent action. I’m all in now, and there’s no turning back.

Side note—I recently re-designed my website to market myself in Tucson, Arizona. Feel free to check it out! Ryan Sellick–Multimedia Designer, Musician.

As a blue belt, it can be a little nerve-wracking joining a new gym and finding a new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu family, especially when compounded with social anxiety! You worry about normal stuff, like hoping the new teammates will like and accept you…and then not-so-normal stuff, like training with meatheads—people that want to carve in their next stripe with your blood, or the personal hygiene and cleanliness habits of your new gym and training partners. 

After my first class, all those worries were put to rest. It became clear that I’m training with an extended Jiu-Jitsu family. Everyone was so nice and welcoming, and treated me with the same level of respect as their fellow teammates. It is also clear that the gym and the athletes share a high standard for hygiene and cleanliness, which is crucial

Sure, the culture and protocols are slightly different, but I feel like I already know these people. It certainly helps that most of the athletes here know and respect my head coach James Clingerman, but I feel this gym (as well as any legitimate BJJ Academy) would be just as respectful and welcoming to any new or seasoned BJJ student.

David said it best when talking with me after class, “Jiu-Jitsu is the best fraternity in the world”. Normally, I wouldn’t use the word “fraternity” for its connotations of exclusivity and superiority (because ANYONE can join the Jiu-Jitsu family), but in this case it seems appropriate. I drove 25 hours west into the desert, and I found brothers I didn’t know I had; good-willed and intelligent people who are motivated to improve their lives every day, and help others do the same. The value of this kind of atmosphere is immeasurable.  

Not to mention—one of the biggest struggles of moving to a new city is starting all over with professional networking. With Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I have a great place to start. These people are from many different walks of life, yet we all share the same growth mindset. That mindset permeates into every facet of our lives, so it’s a small wonder that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes tend to be successful and effective people.

I can think of no better way to meet people in a new city. You learn so much about people by training with them. You learn if your training partner is the type of person to blast through adversity, or give up when the going gets tough. You learn if he/she is cerebral and technical, or athletic and strong-willed. You learn together, you grow together. You learn from each other, and you push each other to new levels of proficiency and excellence. You simply can’t get that immediate connection from a networking event, or meeting people at a bar. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we train with our ego-guards down (for the most part). There’s no personal judgement; there is only what works, what doesn’t, and how we can all improve. We show who we really are, because there is that understanding that we are all here to get better, and we are all family.

Thanks for reading about my recent experience with my extended Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu family. We’d love to hear your input! How has the BJJ family improved your life? Feel free to comment or share this post with your friends, and maybe even help grow the community!

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