Maturity in BJJ Pt. 2: Jiu-Jitsu Parents /// By: Vincent Inoncillo
Photo credit: Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu, Las Vegas
As we are all aware, ego is quite apparent in jiu-jitsu. It exists at all levels and lives differently in all practitioners. From beginners to all the way up the ranks, there is a certain attitude that exudes ego. As far as the different levels it does exist in one in particular that is not at belt level. Sometimes it's not a practitioner with ego but a family member that is heavily involved in their life in jiu-jitsu. This family member that can have a lot of ego is the parent of a practitioner.
While friends and family may be our biggest fans, there's no bigger fan than a proud parent. Parents will always have your back, take you to training and make sure you're doing all the right things to succeed in life and jiu-jitsu. At competition they make sure you're there early to prepare you for the event, have refreshments and snacks on hand as well as being a personal cameraman. At practice it's the same thing, they're there making sure you're focused and staying on task. They are there to guide you to success.
However, parents with ego do all the above and a little bit more. They do tend to look out for the best interest of their child when it comes to succeeding in life and jiu-itsu, but their concern is only that. In most academies the atmosphere is a family vibe where everyone knows everyone and treats one other with respect. Signs of a parent with ego can be a variety of things, but one common trait sticks out. This one aspect is that a lot of these parents have children who take the top spots at tournament podiums and have other accolades. As a parent they should be proud of their child's accomplishments, but as an indirect result this success can go to the parents' head.
Parents like this live vicariously through their child thinking they are the ones that are achieving these accomplishments. They can be found posting on social media on behalf of their child and bragging about them every opportunity they get. Being a proud parent is one thing, but parading your child around as a trophy is another. As we mentioned earlier at most academies the vibe is close-knit like a family, but these parents with ego sometimes don't make it feel that way. They can make lower belts, their parents and especially newer families of the academy feel inferior or like they're not one of the same. In such cases you may experience short conversations, know-it-all attitude, and other forms of the cold shoulder from these individuals. This is a reality of some jiu-jitsu parents.
Although this type of attitude lives among our community it is not our job to change it. Everyone is entitled to their own views and attitudes, but alienating and disrupting the harmony of the academy in this way is not what the jiu-jitsu lifestyle is about. Parents should be there to support their children, but also support the academy and its members. They are also representatives of the art, sport and their respective academy. Sharing the art and spreading the love of jiu-jitsu should be something that all academy members, practitioners or not, should practice.