Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu... what is that? I am an equestrian, why do I need BJJ? How in the world will this things called BJJ help me for riding horses?
Those are all great questions I plan to discuss with you today.
So let's start with what makes someone a great rider...
If you have read my Bio yet you have learned that I am a white belt under Professor Alan Stockman at Carlson Gracie Team Stockman Jiu-Jitsu. I have loved every minute I spend there; but why did I decide to join?
If you know me at all or have seen my resume; you would see/know that I rarely do anything in life that I am not passionate about. I also do not tend to join clubs, sporting teams, go places, spend money on things that will not support my passions or dreams for my career or future. I just simply am not someone who wants to "waste" time on anything that won't benefit me in the long run. So why did an avid equestrian competitor in eventing, dressage and rodeo sports decide to join BJJ?
Seems a little wacky right? I kinda thought I was nuts too at first (only for a little bit) then I started rolling with my awesome teammates and knew just how this would benefit me.
First off, to me, a great rider is someone who:
Those are just some of the things I feel make up a good rider. They certainly are not all of them and each sport requires something a little different, but when I self reflect and ask what makes me a good rider those are what I think of.
Now, like I said earlier, I rarely do anything that won't benefit me in the long run. I am also aware enough and see the value in improving our skills outside of the arena. I am a big advocate of adding yoga, strength/interval training to our regimen as well. I have realized though that not only do we need to exercise our bodies outside the arena; we need to workout our minds as well.
Why Add BJJ To Your Routine:
To get better at something you need to practice it. However, there are many things you can do to practice different things. I feel that cross-training is a great way to do this. I have already learned a lot of lessons from BJJ that I can take over into the arena and become a better rider. The greatest athletes out there do not just practice their chosen sport over and over. They cross-train. A boxer might run, or swim (cardio comes from multiple places not just endless rounds.) A great race horse is not just running in circles endlessly. They are doing treadmill work, dressage and more.
There is value in branching out. BJJ is just another avenue in exercising your abilities as a rider. It has given me a chance to work on myself without having to worry about my horse.
So how do you start?
I personally recommend anyone who teaches from the Carlson Gracie lineage (if you are in Indianapolis, In area pop in and talk to Alan). Most gyms will allow you to sit in on some classes first before joining. I recommend you do so to make sure the atmosphere is what you want. (click the link to see the philosophy of my current gym). Ultimately, you want a place where you feel welcomed, no judgment, accepting of women (if you are a women), where the emphasis is on education before competition (and safety is number 1).
I challenge you to give it a try. I bet you will see how BJJ is not only just a sport but it is a lifestyle, brotherhood/sisterhood where you learn more lessons for life (and your riding) then just the techniques. I bet it will add to your life in ways you wouldn't think of.
Till next time ya'll, Happy Riding!
Courtney loves God, nature, horses, homemaking, essential oils, herbs & CrossFit, Yoga, BJJ, Natural horsemanship. Learn more about the author in her Bio section.
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