Intimate relationships are a beautiful thing. They require hard work and attention and always give more than you put in. There is nothing more meaningful in this life than human connection.
Couples who train Jiu Jitsu seem to have exceptionally strong relationships, and below are the three reasons why I believe this to be so.
I like to ask couples further down the path for advice, and the majority of responses seem to be centered around communication.
Communication is the governer determining your ability to transcend yourself and merge your being with another.
Words are a poor substitute for direct experience, but are the most efficient means we have to share knowledge and opinions. The same word can mean something entirely different to those in a relationship, and though you are using the same word, you can be speaking a different language. Jiu Jitsu gives couples a shared vocabulary, a mutually understood set of metaphors that can be applied to any area of life.
The metaphor is a profound teaching tool, helping others understand unknowns by seeing their corollaries with the known. And make no mistake, relationships are teaching. You are teaching your beloved (and yourself) what you think, know, believe, and feel, as you let another into the inner world you are constantly discovering.
Jiu Jitsu allows for a mutually understood terminology with which to cross reference the rest of our lives, making daily communication more accessible.
#2- Problem Solving
First, we must define problem solving. For our purposes:
Problem solving is being presented with a situation which you would prefer to change, formulating a well-articulated, actionable plan, and implementing that plan to achieve your intended result.
Life is problem solving. The “problems” come in countless forms. Whether balancing the checkbook or cooking a healthy meal the kids will eat, life is a ceaseless string of problems to be solved. This is perhaps our most fundamental skill, as this is the simplest codification of experience.
A couple is a team which confronts these myriad problems together, and those couples who train Jiu Jitsu have a shared education in attending to countless variables in the most productive way. Jiu Jitsu transfers benefits to the rest of our lives because we learn to see experience through a clear lens, articulate a working hypothesis and game plan, and doggedly working toward its actualization.
A couple that does this, on the mat and in life, is a superpower.
#3- The Non-negotiable Core Values
We all have certain beliefs and convictions which we will never cede. It is when these core values conflict with those of others that turmoil rears its head.
If a couple trains Jiu Jitsu together, and both genuinely value its practice, we can be assured that they are exercising many of the same non-negotiable core values.
The “Jiu Jitsu Way of Life” is one of health, mindfulness, constant growth, and discipline. When a couple trains Jiu Jitsu together, they are exercising the values which are the bedrock of a quality life. This ensures that not only does our partner share our values, but they are also daily striving to exercise those values on the journey toward self-actualization.
Truth is hidden in cliches. We’ve all heard, “Couples that train together, stay together.” Further elaboration reveals this truth:
Couples who find a shared vocabulary with which to communicate, who mutually engage in purposeful problem solving in a field of limitless variables, and who share a core set of non-negotiable core values which they exercise daily, have created an environment in which they can continue to grow together in the same direction, in the ways most important to them.
The utility of Jiu Jitsu continues to baffle me. Every area of life seems to be directly and massively improved from this practice.
Jiu Jitsu is the vehicle. And it can take us anywhere, so long as we drive intelligently.