Kelly Slater, Joel Tudor, Eli Olsen, Kai Borg, Kid Peligro…. what do these famed surfers have in common?
They all practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Surfing and jiu-jitsu have a long history of parallels and shared practitioners. Surfers often find themselves turning to jiu-jitsu as a way to train both physically and mentally while out of the water. Likewise, BJJ practitioners often find that the ocean presents them with something new and different to challenge themselves with.
Surfing and Jiu Jitsu share physical demands
Did you know the warmups for surfing are similar to warmups for jiu-jitsu? That’s because both sports work your body in a similar way– that is, all the ways.
It’s hard to find a sport more physically demanding than either surfing or jiu-jitsu. An hour on your board or on the mat will test your strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination. It’s a holistic effort– you can’t simply muscle your way to triumph in either surfing or jiu-jitsu.
In both surfing and jiu-jitsu, the people out there are not necessarily the biggest or strongest. We’ve seen the tiniest people drop in on the gnarliest wave and flip a 6’3 guy on his back. It’s not about strength, it’s about using the mechanics of your body in a way that’s smart, strategic, and energy-efficient.
Surfing and Jiu Jitsu foster mental strength
The psychological demands of surfing and jiujitsu can be just as intense as the physical ones. You have to maintain absolute focus, overcome your fears, take calculated risks, and believe in your ability to triumph.
There are real consequences to getting too “in your head” in either surfing or jiu-jitsu. If your thoughts drift off to your email inbox while you’re on the water, you’re likely to be rewarded with an angry wave crashing right in your face. Similarly, if you lose focus or get frustrated on the mat, your opponent (if he or she is any good) will likely take advantage and catch you in a submission.
Picture: Bruno Panno
Surfing and Jiu Jitsu create a shared energy with the world
When you surf, you are literally sharing energy with the planet. Waves are created by energy passing through the water, and surfers exert their own energy to ride those waves. It’s an amazing exchange of energy between the surfer and the ocean– not to mention the energy created by interacting with other surfers in the water.
In Jiu-Jitsu, you’re sharing energy with another person in combat. You’re learning to read them and anticipate their moves, similar to how we attempt to predict the next set of waves. You’re ultimately converting their energy into your own as you flip, spin, and pin your way to victory.
Off the mat and out of the water, surfers and martial artists continue to share energy as they foster a community of like-minded friends and partners.
Picture: Antonio Kapincho
Surfing and Jiu Jitsu demand a healthy lifestyle
It’s hard to show up hungover for a sunrise surf session or hand-to-hand combat. Surfers and martial artists tend to adopt a healthier lifestyle as they become more devoted to their sport. They recognise that treating their body and mind properly are paramount to being able to do the thing they love most.
It’s common to find both surfers and martial artists actively engaged in other healthy hobbies. Yoga is popular with both surfers and martial artists as a way to connect with the mind through movement and breath. And while it takes a lot of calories to support a surfing or martial arts lifestyle, plates tend to be filled with the foods we know are going to properly fuel our next sesh.
Picture: Gabriel Molon
Surfing and Jiu Jitsu provide a sense of meaning and peace
You don’t find a lot of casual surfers or martial artists. Once people bring surfing or martial arts into their lives, it tends to become their lifestyle. That’s because both surfing and Jiu-Jitsu provide, for so many, a deep sense of peace and even purpose in life.
The connection to the mind, body, planet, and others that both surfing and jiu-jitsu provide goes well beyond a few casual benefits. Whether they plan their weeks, vacations, or lifestyles around surfing or jiu-jitsu, you’ll find a lot of smiling faces on the ocean and on the mat.
At Gracie Sydney Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) most of the coaches are surfers too, Bruno Panno, Antonio, Gabriel, and our Master Royler Gracie, love to be in the water before and after classes.
From now on our website will place a link and you’ll be able to check the wave report next to you on a daily basis. So you can enjoy riding some waves before or after the Jiu-Jitsu classes.
Picture: Royler Gracie
Enjoy guys, see you on the mat… or sharing the waves!!!