Dating and the BJJ gym: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Updated: Aug 7
They say that you should find hobbies that keep you engaged and gets you in an active space. Of course, when you do things you enjoy, you meet people and these people can potentially turn into friends, that can turn into a significant other. Of course this is the same in the BJJ world (hasn’t happened for me yet but who knows). Many of my friends (and myself shhhh) have had major crushes on coaches and some people they’ve trained with.
It might be a bad idea to get “entangled” with the people you interact with at the gym. Others might say it’s great and they wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve talked to some of my friends who had the fortune, misfortune or actual horror of dating someone they trained with. So, without further ado, here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of dating while doing BJJ.
· Having an all the time training partner
I have this wild fantasy:
I’m in bed with my significant other and he notices I’m upset. He says “babe, what’s wrong?” I go “meh…It’s nothing.” He replies “No! Come on tell me! You know you can tell me anything” I sigh and say… “You know what… I got caught in a triangle from side control and I feel so stupid about it and I can’t stop thinking about it.” Then he replies with “Okay let’s work it out and see what you did wrong…”
This fantasy can only happen if my partner also trained jiu-jitsu. I think having someone who trains with you can help improve your game because you have someone who actually knows what you’re talking about and can help work out your jiu-jitsu problems. It’s even better if you and your partner live together and you invest in mats at your house so you can get extra rolls in, drill more, and not have an excuse to be lazy and not go to the gym.
· Someone who motivates you to train
We all have those days, despite what you do, that you don’t want to do whatever it is you’re doing (try saying that 3 times fast). Sometimes, it feels a bit nice not to train (your body especially thanks you for it). But, when it gets to a point where you make tiny excuses not to train, it can be detrimental, especially when not training becomes quitting all together. If you train with a significant other, you might be motivated to go to the gym more often, especially if they are there training with you. When you’re feeling overly lazy, that push from someone who loves and cares about you is well wanted AND needed.
· Someone who is as fit as you are
If you share a hobby that is in the fitness and wellness world, then you know that you have someone who values health as much as you do. You have someone who is conditioning outside of the gym with you. Someone who understands the importance of stretching after class, and gets you to stretch with them. You have someone who is there to check you when you’re not making the healthiest of choices. Also, when it comes to going out to a bar or club late on the weekends, you can always turn to your partner with that “Can we go home now?” look and both of you have an excuse to not be out past 10:30 and get extra sleep.
· A private coach (upper belts)
To some women, there is nothing sexier than a big, strong man that has to ability to protect them. Times that by 1000% if the man does a martial art and he’s been doing it for a while. Times THAT by another 1000% if you train in the same martial art and that man can teach you some things and help your BJJ get better (also woman, they, them, etc. Just speaking for myself… I love this type of man). It’s nice to have that extra coach around to watch you roll and give you constructive criticism every time. Also, to me, there is something super sexy about trying to do a move on an upper belt and him just countering that move. I think it would be even sexier if he countered it and like kissed you. I’m sure women who train and date/marry upper belts get that all the time.
· Feeling jealous
If you’re the jealous type (which is slightly immature and you should work on that…just saying), then training with your significant other might trigger some jealous feelings. If you train at the same gym, then it might bother you to hear your partners laughter from the other side of the gym while they’re training with someone else. If they train at a different gym, then your mind might be thinking about the proximity to their training partners or how some people can be taking advantage of the fact that you’re not there. Overall, not a healthy mindset to have and it can bring lots of problems in the relationship.
· Not having your own hobby/escape from that partner
As mentioned before, it’s nice to have someone that understands jiu-jitsu and can train and talk to you about it and outside of the gym. But what happens when you see your partner ALL THE TIME? Some people appreciate the fact that they don’t have to sacrifice training time for partner time if their partner goes with them to the gym. But, sometimes you don’t want to see your partner at your favorite places all the time. Sometimes jiu-jitsu is sacred, and you need that time to focus on yourself and not worry about your partner. If they’re around even after you break-up, it could potentially ruin the BJJ experience/journey for you. It’s almost like getting proposed to on your birthday or Christmas and then breaking up.
· Breaking up
Sometimes good things come to an end and although jiu-jitsu (sometimes) has all the positives, sometimes people don’t mesh for a long time romantically. If the person you’re with does BJJ with you, that can be rough, especially if they go to your gym. It can make things quite uncomfortable and a lot of things come out of that discomfort.
· Feeling awkward at the gym
Seeing your ex in public is rough. It’s a lot of pressure especially if you’re not looking your best. Imagine that pressure when you come to the gym and you see your ex doing the same class… Then there’s the pressure of not messing up a move or if you have positional sparing, trying to avoid them or not avoiding them to be cordial. If you’re completely trying to avoid seeing them at all, then you gotta remember their schedule and remember which days they train and which days they don’t train and adjust YOUR schedule in order to avoid any awkward situations at the gym. This isn’t a way to live.
· Having an outburst or a fight
A big blow up at the height of any tension can be a long time coming and stressful for both parties in a relationship. Imagine that blow up happens in the gym around your training partners and coaches… I’m feeling the secondhand embarrassment just by writing this… This makes both parties look bad and immature and it destroys any kind of face you have at the gym. Which brings me to my next point…
· Everyone knowing your business
After having a blow-up in front of everyone, naturally everyone is going to talk about it. Yes, some of your friends will be there to comfort you and talk about it after but what about the people who you’re not quite familiar with? People create their own narratives especially when they know nothing about you. Even if you don’t have a blow-up, people talk. People are gossips. Both men and women talk about intimate details of their relationships. Would you want someone knowing how great in bed you are or if you’re bitter how small your “stuff” is? I think this is avoidable and it can generate into a big cloud of gossip, bad energy, and bad training if not managed properly.
Quitting your Gym or worse…. BJJ
After all the awkwardness, all the blowups, all the being uncomfortable at the gym and people talking and knowing about all of your business, how can you be in the headspace to continue training at your gym. All these factors detract from the focus of training and I’m thinking it would be all too much to handle. In that case, the most logical thing to do would be quitting your gym and finding a new gym to train at. If there are many gyms in your area, no problem. Move on and continue training. But if BJJ gyms are sparse or you don’t like the other gyms around you, then that creates another problem… Yes, there are plenty of resources to train by yourself like grappling dummies, online videos, and grabbing a friend to come train with you. But you’ll definitely miss the community and learning that going to a BJJ gym brings. Maybe this factor is overly dramatic but this all depends on the person you are.
These are things I’ve seen that can be good, bad, or ugly when it comes to dating someone you train jiu-jitsu with. Have you dated someone you’ve trained with? Was it a good, bad or ugly result? Tell me in the comments or on Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj