What does Jiu-Jitsu have to do with American football? A lot more than would seem, as GRACIEMAG.com outlines below.
1. ELI MANNING’S “JIU-JITSU” COACH
Elisha Manning, the young quarterback who won his second NFL title late this Sunday evening, was throwing too many pass interceptions last season. Then Mike Sullivan—an upstart coach formerly on the Rangers who holds a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu and is big on MMA—entered the scene.
Sullivan didn’t have any experience training quarterbacks; still he took the problem head on, setting Eli Manning up with a triangle like the one he’d seen on the Gracie academy emblems. He assigned a meaning to each vertex on the triangle and encouraged the NY Giants star to seek equilibrium between the three different concepts: leadership, decision making, and precision. Manning embraced Sullivan’s new training philosophy, threw fewer incomplete passes, and ended the season breaking an historic Giants yardage record—and he won the Super Bowl, to boot!
2. HAVE FUN IN JIU-JITSU RESPONSIBLY
In conversations between Mike Sullivan and the prankster Eli Manning, coach and athlete always set aside a few minutes to talk about anything at all, except football. For every five hours talking about plays, tactics and training, the two would take the edge off through brief exchanges about Adam Sandler movies, telling jokes or being silly. To become a great champion, you don’t need to be serious the whole time—quite the contrary. Comic relief can prove to be a performance booster.
3. FALLING AND GETTING BACK UP IS PART OF LIFE
In football as in the martial arts, knowing how to fall is vital—if just because there will always be something looking to bowl you over. A true ace takes those hard knocks, seems to be down for the count, and leaps back to his feet as though nothing happened.
Or as UFC fighter Renan Barão, another of the weekend’s winners, once said: “You have to see the obstacles along the way as something small, fleeting. There will always be hardships on everyone’s path. You have to keep calm and get past them and keep heading towards your dreams.”
4. JIU-JITSU, WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, IS A TEAM SPORT
Even though it’s an individual sport, in Jiu-Jitsu the power is in the union more than it would seem. If you don’t have motivated teammates to count on, you likely won’t make it very far.
As in a football team, every Jiu-Jitsu school has someone quick, someone technical, a powerhouse with a hulking frame, and that guy who crudely uses force at every opportunity. And all of them will be key in shaping your game, as well as your progress on the mat.