The first time you roll with an experienced Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, it feels like you’ve just fallen into deep water without knowing how to swim. Overwhelmed by the sensation of drowning, you fight frantically to stay afloat. Your efforts, however, are all in vain. The harder you try to escape, the more vulnerable you become to arm locks and choke holds. Invariably, you tap out.  

As distressing and humbling as that first experience may be, it sparks the novice’s interest: What just happened to me and what could I have done? In the coming days, months and years, the student will be taught specific techniques to avoid such traps and set them too. More importantly, however, the student will learn to remain calm under pressure, to solve problems rationally without falling victim to his or her emotions. “Of course, jiu-jitsu teaches you self defense, but it’s much more profound than that. You learn to remain calm when chaos ensues, to regulate your emotions so you can solve the problem. You actually learn to relish problem solving,” explains Cristobal Chavez, the owner of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu. Those lessons go way beyond the mat. Afterall, what is life but a never-ending series of problems to be overcome?



1491 Lee Trevino Dr. 

El Paso, TX 79936

(915) 317-2585

Photographed by: JOHN HORTA