How to get your friendships rolling...
Anyone else been in Struggle Town on the friendship front recently?
I generally consider myself to be lucky, because I love meeting new peeps and making new friends. But after finishing university a couple of years ago I watched as my friends drifted off to try new jobs overseas, or they become caught up in the hectic life-style of the corporate world or family life and it became more and more difficult to meet up with them.And one, sad day, I suddenly woke up to find myself walking (yet again) alone in the park and then ordering a coffee for one… But how do you go about creating more friendships???
Thankfully, I bumped into someone who suggested that I try out the martial art of Brazilian Jui Jitsu (BJJ).
I had no idea what it was about and was very nervous arriving there all on my lonesome, but am so glad I gave it a chance…because I fell totally in love with this somewhat-strange sport which seemed to involve two people "rolling" around (wrestling?) on the mat in different coloured suits (or Gi’s).
BJJ is not everyone’s cup of tea. It's a contact sport that can be physically gruelling. It has expanded my limits as I’ve learned to leap-frog over people, cartwheel, bridge and choke. It involves new rules of discipline (so not-like me!), a Brazilian-style hand-slapping routine to greet peeps and some bizarre jargon (like "submit" and "tapout"??), but I have met soooo many amazing friends, both queer and straight, over the past six months; and some the queer BJJ girls are on this website too.
I joined one of the Garra BJJ’s in Brisbane, where no one seems to be concerned about your nationality, age, gender or gender identity. They simply want to practice “rolling” or take time out on the sidelines and chat about Jui Jitsu, their jobs, families, weekends or what they’re cooking for dinner!
The friendships started gradually, with a quick drink out; then lunch and Wii comps; trips to the coast; and now some of us are even spending Christmas together (can’t wait)! I just feel so loved and appreciated; and such a sense of belonging. I can’t believe this level of happiness was sitting at a gym just around the corner from my home.
So, for anyone in friendship Struggle Town, who is perhaps looking for new ideas over the Christmas season or for your New Year’s resolution, I encourage you to go on and try a new sport or hobby in your area! It’s nerve-wracking in the beginning but can be well-worth it!
A couple of hints and tips, though:
- Look for that feeling of absolute joy and passion when trying something new (I count down time to the next class and can’t wait to get my Gi on)
- Look for a club or group with a friendly, tolerant attitude. In my experience, the Garra Brazilian Jui Jitsu Academies in Brisbane, led by Eduardo Dias (a descendant of the original BJJ Gracie family in Brazil), instil a formidable sense of discipline; whilst promoting an awesome sense of tolerance to diversity
- Look for specialist clubs that may suit your particular need or interest. For example, for the ladies in Melbs interested in BJJ, Jess Fraser runs the awesome club Australian Girls In Gi
- Search for social clubs in your area (or add one) on the Resource Directory, or if it's more your style - say hi by sending peeps a message! So many awesome people hiding behind their screens :)
- Pls stay safe!! Check out reviews of any new clubs online and do any other necessary homework before visiting them
Do YOU have any ideas of fabulous clubs, groups or societies in your area that newbies could join? Or do you have a new experience to share? Pls leave a comment - would looove to hear about them!!?? And shoot me a message if you're in the Brissy area; I love meeting new people! ;)
Look who's a happy chappie!
The Bumblebee: Always time to perfect an Interpretive Dance
And... this is how we roll
Yays! My first stripe! (...Only around 15 more stripes and 4 belts to go ;)