I Just Tell Them I Wrestle

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.

0 thoughts on “I Just Tell Them I Wrestle

  1. Steve Ficca

    Well said Lex. When faced with this dilemma I’ve just started responding with “I fight” …back when I tried saying Jiu Jitsu I’d get people going into karate stances and making hiya noises at me! Lol… then they’ll say something like “oh my 6 year old cousin is a black belt, what are you?” Ridiculous isn’t it?

  2. Azeez Hayne

    Hah! The further you get from college, the less credible that answer will be! I suppose you could just answer “grappling,” which will always be true. I kind of prefer to say jiu jitsu and then explain the follow up if I have time/inclination. But the level of ignorance is sometimes funny. When I hurt my rib, after I told the orthopedist it was a jiu jitsu injury, he asked if I got kicked! Not exactly.

  3. Julia Johansen

    I came here from A Skirt on the Mat. Nice article. I sometimes get strange responses to the BJJ thing, and like you I think it’s easiest to connect it to wrestling. I tell them it’s wrestling in a gi 🙂


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