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For the “other” love in our life

January 21, 2009

Inspired by Caleb’s (of the Fightworks Podcast) last year’s Valentine Day post which he linked to from his post on his knee injury (get well soon Caleb!), I thought I’d point out how just special our better halves are and what makes them keepers.

Of all the martial arts, it’s probably the grappling arts (which jiu-jitsu falls under) that have it tough. We’re not kicking and punching boards to show our progress. We’re not memorizing kata (the single all-by-myself kind) for our belt test or to display our martial skill. And even though we practice a “soft” martial art we still come home to our loved ones with bumps, bruises and injuries.

For someone who loves us and isn’t a martial artist themself it can be pretty hard to understand. But they stick with us nonetheless. It takes a very special person to do that. Here’s just how special… and for those single guys and gals, here’s what should be kept in mind when planning on promoting that someone from casual dating to serious relationship level.

They Respect Us
Probably the first and foremost quality to be present in any relationship, the person we love has to respect us and what we love to do. This means they let us be ourselves and pursue our interests, without snarky comments every moment we take out our gi. They understand that jiu-jitsu is a part of our lives and it’s alright with them.

They’re Confident
Hopefully they were confident about themselves long before we entered the picture. Someone who was able to stand on their own and can enjoy time apart from you, will not mind the long hours you spend away from them. It shows someone confident and emotionally secure, ideal for relationships to last.

They Get Along
Having a friendly boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, better half, spouse (choose one that fits) helps when meeting friends and family. It’s even more important when it comes to meeting the jiu-jitsu family. At most instances, they’ll meet the “family” at the academy or at tournaments, which aren’t really great opportunities to chat and get to know everyone. But if your guy or girl can get along, win over a few of your training mates or brings goodies for everyone to munch on after a sparring session then chances are that person’s a keeper.

They Support Us
They can respect us, respect the art, be friendly with our jiu-jitsu friends, and if they support us – be our own jiu-jitsu cheering section – that’s just pure gold. Sure, being there during the tournaments trying to stay awake is awesome and a large indication of how much they love and support us. But if they take that extra effort – encouraging us to go train jiu-jitsu when we get the “lazy day” blues, learning the terminology, trying to understand the game and, best of all, actually training with us – then what more can you ask for? Nothing. That person’s perfect. Don’t mess up.

They Make Us Better
A great relationship will challenge us, make us step up to the plate, help us to improve. Not because of our own sakes, but because we have someone to cheer us on. Someone who’ll be proud of us and the accomplishments we make – both in and outside of jiu-jitsu.

And to be fair, here’s what we should do in return for our loved ones.

Let Them Know
Say “I love you” often. Leave love notes hidden around the house when you go off to train jiu-jitsu. Send flowers, balloons, both. Email or call them out of the blue to just say you’re thinking about ’em. Big romantic gestures every now and again just to let them know that they do matter in your life.

ALWAYS Keep Your Dates
Yes, you’re tired from sparring. Yes, your body is aching. No, you cannot cancel your dinner plans. Keeping all your dates, plans and promises to spend time together shows that you’re reliable, mindful of your relationship and respectful to them.

Spend Time with Them
Not sure what the rule is for how much time should be spent together to have a healthy relationship, but I believe that it should be quality time. When you’re together, no sneaking off to study the latest online jiu-jitsu instructional when you have the chance. Pay attention to them. Notice their details. Have stimulating conversations together. Be their world for the entire time you’re together. That way when you do go off to train, they’ll be okay but still miss you and probably can’t wait to get you back home.

Prove You Love Them
If you let them know how they make you feel, always show up for your dates and you spend quality time with them, I think it’s safe to say you’re proving how much you care and love them. If not, it’s time to break out the big guns – a surprise gift of that CD they’ve always wanted but never got around to buying, a lovely dinner at their favorite restaurant, or a romantic weekend getaway (if you religiously train on the weekends this will have a greater impact). Sometimes it maybe just even be something as little as washing the dishes or giving a massage or putting your gi away by yourself.

Keep Them Included
Finally, even if they won’t come, invite them over to a tournament or a class if you haven’t. Let them know you want them there when your school or academy is having a gathering or a party. When you finally get promoted, let them know about it and if there’s an awarding ceremony make sure they come! Let them see the joy it brings you when you have someone you love there witness you take the next step. Don’t be afraid to share the one thing you’re passionate about in your life with one of the most important people in your life.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Caleb permalink
    January 22, 2009 12:56 pm

    Great post! Were you a relationship counselor in a former life?

  2. January 22, 2009 11:07 pm

    You forgot another piece of advice…

    Write a blog post like this! Way to make the rest of us look bad, hahaha!

  3. January 23, 2009 1:42 pm

    Thanks guys.

    Tomari-sensei once told me that training jiu-jitsu isn’t so fun if there’s trouble in paradise. In a way it’s like any other type of advice to help in training except it’s for Love Jiu-jitsu.

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