Happy belated Veterans' Day
One of the many, many gifts BJJ and CrossFit have given me is the opportunity to get to know more people who serve in the military. I encountered servicepeople in the Dark Ages before I started training and CrossFitting, but lots of military folks seem to end up dedicated to improving their rear naked chokes AND their front squats, so there are many of them in those worlds. Some military divisions learn grappling as part of hand-to-hand combat. One of the conventions for CrossFit workouts is to name (some of) them after fallen soldiers: Griff, Erin, Murph, Michael. I've heard of "garage" gyms, both grappling and CrossFit, in far-flung military installations in the Middle East and Japan.
I can only speculate about what the connection is, because I have never been in the miltary. I have in the past jokingly referred to people who don't train as "civilians," and have heard from people who HAVE been in the military that it's an apt comparison. Maybe that's because grappling and CrossFit both require discipline and respect for people who outrank you (that ranking system is more overt in BJJ with the belt system, of course, but I don't know any CrossFitter who isn't appropriately impressed with and respectful of the amazing examples of physical fitness we see every day from our teachers and leaders). Maybe it's that trying to explain to a non-practitioner what the lifestyle is like is virtually impossible. Maybe it's because both grappling and CrossFit ARE lifestyles, much like I imagine the military is.
The point is, I am grateful to grappling and CrossFit for helping me better understand the sacrifices servicepeople make--for me and the people I love--though I will never completely understand. And I am grateful to those servicepeople and their sacrifices. Thank you.