First impressions start the story." - Nicholas Boothman
Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone
Jiu-Jitsu is the MOST EFFECTIVE Martial Art in the world, yet, not everyone is doing it. We still have not reached the full potential or mainstream reach of the art. I feel as an instructor and as a missionary for Jiu-Jitsu, my main job is to promote the art and also paint the perfect picture to new student's that may have created certain mental/cognitive biases towards the art. It is for Men, Women, Children, Sizes, All Ages...you name it! But, do we on a daily basis, when talking about Jiu-Jitsu, "SELL" it properly to our friends???
“When we become expert in something, our tastes grow more esoteric and complex.” - Malcolm Gladwell
- You are 40 years old.
- You have not exercised in 10 years.
- You have children, a wife, a great job, but are feeling either vulnerable physically or possibly passionless.
- You have heard of Jiu-Jitsu, maybe watch it on YouTube, and have always had an interest, but you don't really understand the art or what it encompasses.
One of your co-workers just began training and is feeling the amazing effects and can't wait to share the details of the classes!
You ask him "What is it like? I am out of shape. I have never done it before.
Can I do it???"
He replies: "Man, it is awesome. It is really TOUGH, there are CHOKES , ARM LOCKS, LEG LOCKS, THROWS, it's amazing! If you are out of shape, you MIGHT be ok. Even if you haven't done it before, you SHOULD be ok, you just have to have the COURAGE to walk through the door, and take some BUMPS and BRUISES in the beginning. Just come to a class with me, SIGN THE WAIVER, and hop in! Want to come tomorrow night?!?!?"
You reply: "What is the WAIVER for?"
Co-worker: "Something you sign that just says that you won't SUE or anything if you get HURT or DIE. It's a quick form."
Did he come with you to class???
I appreciate the enthusiasm!I don't think that your co-worker came to class and I also don't think that he got the correct perception of the art. When a new student begins, they will suddenly have a new sense of appreciation for technique, humility, discipline, and will have realized that Jiu-Jitsu is truly MAGIC! However; the descriptive techniques listed above are POWERFUL and are a part of what gives Jiu-Jitsu it's strength, they do not generally sound appealing to someone who is nervous, undecided, or fearful of potential risk and injury. Once they are enrolled in the class and they see how safe, effective, and develop proper technique they will be ready for all of the good stuff Jiu-Jitsu offers!
Avoid the "hidden, negative, connotations." All of the above words in RED stand out, not because I highlighted them, but because these are only what the person will hear! Although, you said it was awesome, you explicitly told them they would...
Try this next time
When your friend/co-worker/relative or whoever, nervously asks you about Jiu-Jitsu, and you can see that they have interest but are looking for reassurance, explain to them...
We can all agree that the above is a lot more friendly sounding and is the absolute truth. The beginner's enthusiasm is completely understood, but if WE are to grow this art and promote it to the community and the world, we need to make people realize that a Jiu-Jitsu Academy is not a fight club, or the UFC, or some place negative, where they are going to possibly get hurt...The Jiu-Jitsu Academy is a place where they learn how to NOT get hurt!
Word of mouth is everything
In Seth Godin's amazing book, "The Purple Cow", he explained how almost every top business in the world was gained notoriety and success, mainly by word of mouth advertising. Customers that were so blown away by the product or company, they could not stop telling everyone about it! The easiest part for them was the fact that they were coffee shops, restaurants, and department stores. All of them are slightly easier to describe in comparison to Jiu-Jitsu : )
When we start to WORD things more effectively, we will have a better chance of the world being introduced to the MAGIC of Jiu-Jitsu! What you wear, what you say, and how you act, will give an instant SNAP JUDGEMENT to someone who may NEED or WANT the art desperately, but are unsure what they will enter into.
I am not trying to turn student's or you reading this into a "BJJ Salesperson." I am merely trying to polish up everyone's ability to convince their friends to come in! The more students, the more the school will grow. When the school grows, training level and potential increases. When this all happens, Jiu-Jitsu will finally embed itself into the culture!
All Jiu-Jitsu representatives know the power of the art physically, mentally, and even spiritually. But as we grow and mature through training we must not forget how we felt before we started. If you have been an athlete your whole life, you have been blessed, but you must remember that you have to treat and spread Jiu-Jitsu to people that do not have your attributes and gifts.
Promote the "Gentle Art" (Jiu-Jitsu translated), gently, and make sure that people are reassured they CAN do it and this will help achieve the next wave of mainstream popularity in our ART!
Eddie Fyvie // www.EFJJA.com