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With 2x European Champion, Emilia Tuukkanen

So, a while ago I wrote about problems only girls who train BJJ have. In the name of equality I have made a more gender-neutral list of little things that only people who train Brazilian jiu jitsu will understand.

1. That it is perfectly normal to have four sport tape rolls in your training bag

2. You have to leave early for the class, so you have time to use those four rolls and tape your fingers/toes

3. That you always find these really short, curly hairs in your eye when you roll, and you have to convince yourself they are NOT what you think they are.

4. That no matter what belt you have, or how long you have trained, it’s always nerve-wracking to go train in a new gym. You just sit there (of course you have arrived WAY too early because, well, you are nervous) and wait awkwardly, taping your fingers and toes as slowly and carefully (to look like you have something to do) while trying not to show that you are sweating already through your gi, even though the class hasn’t started. One scary thing is also that every gym has their own customs and rules, and you never know them before you’ve made a fool of yourself (flip flops or no, lining up before practice or no, lining up in some specific order or no, some specific coloured or branded gi or no etc)

5. That your mum ALWAYS worries about you. I bet that even Roger Gracie’s mom still worries about him getting hurt

6. That having a broken toe is more normal than not having a broken toe

7. That shopping for gis is THE BEST THING EVER. Gender doesn’t matter here

8. That only thing better than shopping for that new gi is training with it for the first time. It feels like you just got super powers that include mind-blowing technique, sonic-like speed and never-ending cardio. Not to mention that you feel like the sexiest beast alive walking to the class with that shiny new gear on

9. That if you see someone with a BJJ shirt on, you just have to go and talk to them. And, it’s totally normal for that other guy also

10. That if you see someone with cauliflower ears, your respect for them grew exponentially right away. But, because some other sports also cause them, you don’t necessarily go and talk to them. So you just keep an eye on them and try to hear what they say, just in case.

11. That other way to spot BJJ people is by looking at their hands. More specifically, that way you spot people who play spider guard or use grips a lot

12. That now you’re looking at your hands and thinking if people would recognize you as a jiu jitsu guy from them

13. That mouth guards are uncomfortable, they make breathing harder, you drool everywhere, they’re gross and they taste/smell bad. But, you also really like how you look with your front teeth still attached to your mouth

14. That the most disgusting, grossest things in the whole world are skin diseases. If you hear someone at your gym has one, you immediately start thinking when was the last time you rolled with them. And if you find out in the middle of the class that someone has something on their skin, you have to fight the urge to run screaming into the shower. After class you hurry to the closest store to buy disinfection products. You also wash all training gear possible in them. Twice.

15. That your home is never tidy, and it never smells good there, because of the several sweaty kimonos drying all around the place, really anywhere where it’s possible to hang them.

16. That whenever you travel, no matter if it’s a family holiday or a business trip, you google search the area to see if there are any nice BJJ gyms where you could go train.
November 16, 2018 — Jiu Jitsu Style