CANNABIS CULTURE – For many of the biggest names in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, cannabis plays an important role in their cognitive and physical recovery process.
Amateur and professional practitioners alike find benefits in cannabis that can help their jiu-jitsu creativity, longevity and decompression from hard rolls. As those who “roll” know, cannabis acts as an adviser to the king, staying behind thick red curtains, playing a key role in every conquest and campaign. Fortunately, cannabis in recent years has made its way into the spotlight with influencers and BJJ events that incorporate cannabis as a participatory requirement and prize. The names Joe Rogan and Eddie Bravo has been at the forefront of this movement.
The only major event that brings cannabis and Brazilian jiu-jitsu together is High Rollerz BJJ, which is a submission-only competition. High ROllerz is the brain child of ‘Big Lonn’ Howard & ‘Mighty Matt’ Staudt. Each participant is required to smoke a joint with their opponent before each match can begin. The prizes come in pounds of cannabis with one pound going to each division winner. As of now there are no other tournaments that tie cannabis and jiu-jitsu so tightly together, but I am sure there are tournaments that will develop in the near future.
In my opinion the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has become the spearhead of all sports to welcome cannabis for its athletes. In the professional mixed martial arts scene, there are more and more fighters who are coming out to support lifting its ban and those who remain in the dark waiting for others to push it through. The health benefits it can offer these professional combatants can’t be overlooked for much longer as many athletes are refusing prescription painkillers in favor of self-medicating with the cheaper and less harmful flowers of cannabis.
Athletes in other sports leagues such as the NFL and NBA are also pushing for there league and association to lift the ban on cannabis. There has been a forthcoming of athletes who have openly talked about the negatives of painkillers being easily available to them and causing detrimental long-term effects during and after their playing careers. Some athletes have gone to the extent of retiring very early because cannabis is not allowed in their league and refuse to take any prescription painkillers as a substitute to cannabis. This is an interesting time for sports and cannabis, and I am watching closely to how this plays out.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community will continue to make progress towards the open integration of cannabis and will birth more cannabis-friendly tournaments in the future. More practitioners will see cannabis as an aid rather than a hinderance. There will be less training sessions missed due to injuries in gyms all across the nation. Hopefully training partners will freely spark up together before and/or after training.
It would be easy to say that the lifestyle jiu-jitsu comes with would be the greatest influence for cannabis consumption in the sport, but that’s just not true. There have been important hands that have guided the way for cannabis to be acceptable in the spotlight of jiu-jitsu and not confined to the safety of your home or the ill-lit spot in the parking lot of the gym. These influences came from individuals with a huge platform, credibility in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, personality and the opening of legal doorways.
The influencers that made the biggest and most direct links of cannabis to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in my opinion are Joe Rogan, Eddie Bravo and the Diaz Brothers. Each of these individuals have not been shy in the face of regulations and the public when it comes to the use of cannabis in mixed martial arts for the sake of its physical and mental health benefits.
Their personalities combined with their love for cannabis has helped solidify the link between cannabis and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the minds of practitioners and non-practitioners all over the world. These individuals are the reason why I have made this connection and am currently writing the article you are reading.
As an amateur practitioner myself, I know the wear and tear that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can accumulate on your body. A lot of these start to manifest over the course of days to weeks before they start to hinder your training and daily life. Before anyone says “what does this white belt know anyway?”, I would like to explain that I have several years of mixed martial arts experience through Wrestling, Muay Thai and Judo (So I have had my fair share of injuries).
Although the term amateur encompasses everyone who is not a professional, I assure you that there are competitive amateurs out there who train almost as hard or just as hard as professionals. These individuals are either trying to become professionals or are just hardcore like that. Even those who aren’t training as hard as these outliers will experience some wear and tear such as stiff neck, bruises, rolled ankles, tender joints and back pain. Cannabis comes in very handy for these ailments and for the purpose of unwinding after smashing or getting smashed by your training partner.
Professional practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience more wear and tear on the muscles, joints and mind state than amateurs. The reasons being that most of these competitors train 6-7 days to stay at the top of their game and the constant evolution of the sport. Every year there are moments where names skyrocket into the spotlight and when names fall from the heavens, these are the moments that these competitors work so hard to achieve and to avoid.
When professionals roll hard, they have to push their joints and limbs to a more dangerous extent to prepare themselves for real situations in competitions when they are caught in a submission and can gauge if trying to escape is worth it or if tapping out is the only escape. However, there are competitors who are willing to let their arms break, or get choked out before tapping.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brings people from all walks of life together. Meatheads build bonds with nerds, vegans with carnivores and shy individuals with the obnoxious. It teaches you that a thin, gray-haired man can have iron vises for hands and possibly cut your lights out if the situation calls for it. These kinds of lessons develop a sense of respect and humility for everyone you meet in and out of the gym. You learn that forces outside of your own will usually decide your position in life, but you can learn how to correctly react and survive in those positions.
Along with the lessons you learn in the gym, there will be the wear and tear that any physical activity when taken seriously, can result in. The conquered and conquerer will both have to pay the price for hard training sessions. In times of recovery, cannabis can play an important role towards for individuals who are able to partake without consequence in other areas of their lives.
*featured image courtesy Playboy Magazine