BJJ/MMA On A Budget

It was only yesterday that THIS ARTICLE hit me.

I understand that BJJ and grappling are a relatively new phenomenon in Pakistan and as such a very small community. However even within our community, the issue of cost can be a huge factor sometimes. At times the community loses talent because of costs too.

Reading the above article pushed me to take a look at my martial arts related expenses and how I overcome or circumvent or just plain cut out other expenses from my routine to afford a healthier life style that revolves around my martial arts and scuba diving.

Like Jerry Tsui mentions in the article, I too meet my former training partners who disappeared from training in the past. When asked why the stopped their training, the response tends to be 3 fold for a Pakistani: lack of money, lack of time and life (family, marriage, kids, etc) happened! Tsui is correct in stating that  Jiu-Jitsu is not at the bottom with food and shelter in the physiological section of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid. As such a life long jiu-jitsuka (jiu-jitsu practitioner) would take a hard look at their life and re-arrange things in order to find the resources required from them to train regularly and consistently.

By no means is Jiu-Jitsu cheap even in Pakistan. Firstly there are so many organisations claiming to be authentic Jiu-Jitsu that its not even a joke any more. Secondly, training can range from PKR 2000/- to PKR 8000/- a month depending on whom you go to. Thirdly, the gear and equipment is not cheap either, rash-guards range from PKR 3000/- (non-exportable) to PKR 6000/- (Nike, etc outlets). A gi can cost between PKR 2000/- (rejects from export) to PKR 11000/-+ (If you have them ordered from abroad). At this time within Pakistan, I have not come across significant competition fee but that is a trend that will begin in time.

So based on the above article and then followed by some additional observations a brief list:

  1. Drink MORE water! No matter who you are, if you are training then you need to drink more water and not tea, coffee, juice, cold drink, cocktail, etc. Instead of buying a new bottle of water every time, buy a filter (relatively cheaper option) and get a large flask to take your water with you!
  2. Eat at home! Even if you are a bachelor or bachelorette living alone (or what have you), it is no excuse to eat out for every meal, nor every other meal. Eating out is not a healthy especially if you happen to start looking at the ingredients and all. For example, mono sodium glutamate (MSG) the foremost flavour enhancer has been proven to have a link in triggering obesity, diabetes and various heart conditions. MSG is used by the fist load per plate at all the food outlets in Pakistan. While eating at home sounds more expensive it is not. Also eating at home is significantly healthier.
  3. Cut out smoking. No matter what you smoke, it affects your performance. Stop smoking cigarettes, cigars, sheesha, hookah, weed, hash, glue and everything/anything else. Performance Enhancement Drugs (PEDs) is cheating anyway, and if you can’t perform without them, then you need to re-evaluate your life! Besides, smoking is not cheap particularly if you smoke more than one pack a day! Quitting smoking is cheaper and healthier!
  4. Minimise TV, Movies, etc.  Sitting long hours (in fact even more than 40 minutes at a time) has been proven to be more dangerous than smoking! (see the point above!) No cable means no additional bill! Besides you can watch every thing on the internet anyway (if you really want to).
  5. Get your gear at your gym. They tend to arrange for the most suitably priced and decent quality gear for their training. And if you can arrange for the gear to be provided cheaper then share that option with the gym so that everyone can benefit from it!
  6. Side gigs. This mostly pertains to countries other than Pakistan, but it is something that can be worked out even here. Basically get a second job or limited hours job or something to supplement your income to make room for your training expenses.
  7. Ask your gym for payment options. Gym owners are running a business  and they need to cover their over heads. However, payment options can be discussed and sometimes negotiated in exchange of some sort of service or help for the gym such as cleaning, sales, data management, social media management, marketing, etc. They will work with you in order to get and maintain your business and develop further opportunities.
  8. Time Management. Time is a critical issue for a lot of the Pakistani potentially talented practitioners. School, tuitions, homework, time at home for family and then the day ends. Or day job which gets over late past dinner and then there is no energy left to train nor is there time. Either way, time management has so many options and tips and methods that its difficult to discuss unless in person.
  9. Don’t let life get in the way. Life only gets in the way because a person lets it. People here are governed by “what will people say” mind set. Thus they refuse to learn to say no to unreasonable demands on their time and energy. They even refuse to make time for themselves and their own health, development, skill, or even peace of mind on the simple pretext “my family requires my attention more”. If this is the case then they need to learn to make time for themselves to clear their head, be healthy, get away from it all and all those positive reasons! The way to do this would be to ensure at least 1 hour of their day is set aside for themselves be it weights, callisthenics, or most preferable Jiu-Jitsu.
Regardless one requires a burning desire to make sacrifices, train Jiu-Jitsu and stick with it. Hopefully this article makes sense and helps in fitting training to budget.

This blog has been taken from written by Syed Momin Zaidi.