I was asked by an athlete-type girl at seven eleven about why it is I had 4 apples in one hand and a one gallon jug of water in the other. The question caught me off guard so I defensively said that “I’m cutting weight”. She asked the natural follow-up: “For what?” At this point I came to a crossroads that I surprisingly haven’t come to often in my life. The problem was in explaining judo or brazilian jiu jitsu to a stranger with whom I’ll only likely have 30 seconds worth of conversation. I answer that question truthfully to friends and family with whom I can have at least a couple minutes to explain further if needed. But in this case, I thought about it and just said: “for wrestling”.
Her eyes lit up, and she said “oh cool, my brother wrestles”. And then, the seven eleven manager said: “Wrestling? My son is a wrestler”. Something tells me if I said judo or brazilian jiu jitsu, I would either get a blank stare or would have to hear about how they used to do karate when they were 8 years old.
Thanks to the UFC, mixed martial arts has exploded in the United States. So perhaps in the near future saying that I’m cutting weight for a BJJ competition will not need further explanation, but for now wrestling is the closest thing to BJJ and Judo that most Americans understand. So in the interest of small talk, I just tell them I wrestle.