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When training in Jiu Jitsu, it is extremely important to take every variable into account. One heavily overlooked aspect of Jiu Jitsu training is “Kinship”… “What is Kinship?” you may ask. Well in today’s post we will cover what and why “Kinship” can and will be one of your biggest assets in your ongoing training.

Understanding “Kinship”

Kinship is a connection we make with others despite differences we have. Different from the literal definition referring to blood and family connection, Kinship is a bond made between student and teacher, a connection that grows and develops as you hone your skills with a training partner. The longer you train with one the stronger your developed kinship can and will be.

The single most beneficial aspect of Jiu Jitsu training isn’t self-defense nor is it the health and fitness benefits.  In my opinion among many others, the greatest benefit is kinship. The paradox of Jiu Jitsu training is that in order to get better you must teach others how to beat you.  As you teach others your methods or  “game” you are forcing yourself to adapt to the new challenges which will come as a result.

You stand with the least likely

 to succeed until success is

 succeeded by something

 more valuable.” 

-Greg Boyle on kinship (Founder of Home Boy Industries)

Why is kinship important and how do we find it in Jiu Jitsu training?

In order to excel at Jiu Jitsu training, you must rely on other people.  The better your training partners are the better you will become.  Because of this, it is natural for more experienced students to help and guide newer students along.

  When we work to help, understand, uplift, and teach each other we connect in a way that  transcends social rank.  In many Jiu Jitsu schools, the culture is diverse. 

“When I began training Jiu Jitsu over 10 years ago I immediately noticed 

that I was building connections with people from all walks of life.  People

 didn’t care what your background, race, gender or sexual orientation

 was as long as you were a good training partner. The connections

 I have made, with people, have become some of the best in my life…”

-Alex Kennedy (Head Instructor of GaelForce Bjj)

 If you are new to Jiu Jitsu training take a minute to introduce yourself to the higher ranking members of the school to get a feel for if they are willing to help answer your questions. This will help determine how your school communicates and get a feel for your future development with that school.  For many students and instructors, this is a big determining factor for the quality of the school, and ability to develop kinship with your peers.

“ I remember my first day of classes, the instructor was showing an attack

 off of the failed armbar.  I was partnered with a purple

 belt and had no Idea what an armbar was.  He sacrificed his drilling

 time to teach me the armbar and the day’s technique.”

-Alex Kennedy (Head Instructor of GaelForce Bjj)

Why is Kinship and connection important in jiu jitsu training?

When we work to help uplift someone else we become more compassionate and empathetic. Kinship allows ourselves to view things from the other person’s perspective.  With the amount of division happening in our society it is important to try and understand the perspective of others and realize issues aren’t solely black and white. With kinship, social connections are important in this aspect.  Studies show that good social connections reduce the risk of depression and strengthen your immune system.

  With the advent of social media we have a tendency to only connect with people from the same background who share the same views as ourselves.  Creating kinships in activities like Jiu Jitsu training we can begin to create more diverse connections.  While Jiu Jitsu offers amazing self defense and fitness benefits, the life long kinships created through Jiu Jitsu can and will be the greatest benefit of training.