My teammates and I were recently wondering about this in outside of class: what leads to the emotional closeness that you experience with teammates?
I know I mentioned previously that having a friend is heavily preferred in jiu jitsu, but there’s still the question: what variables are in play to create the environment that promotes friendship among teammates?
First and foremost I would like to think it’s the mutual respect and trust among teammates in what would be considered precarious positions- you’re either making your teammate airborne, or putting their body into a position that could really hurt them. The teammate is in an emotional and physically vulnerable position, and through jiu jitsu, there’s a display of trust and respect by not taking advantage of that vulnerability.
Through jiu jitsu we are literally up in someone’s face, totally invading one another’s personal space- which let’s be real, that’s not something we usually tolerate unless we like and trust someone- and we come out ok from it. Being that close to someone, being in a vulnerable position, and not only that, sometimes failing and looking silly in those vulnerable positions inevitably leads to an emotional closeness that can seem a little strange to people outside of the sport.
During this discussion I also mentioned that while we all come from different experiences and really walks of life, we’re all connected by one common characteristic: grit. We’re all willing to work hard at a sport that takes forever to improve in, we’re willing to do the work, put our noses to the grindstone and continue on our jiu jitsu journey. All of these factors, and others (I’m sure) lead to a closeness that may not always seem to make sense, but has the potential to give us friendships that last a lifetime.
Just some thoughts I wanted to share- have a great day everyone!