Sunday, March 17, 2013

My jiu jitsu tattoo

We jiu jitsu folks have an interesting sense of fashion and style. Some proudly wear sport related t-shirts and hoodies whenever it is perceived to be acceptable. (I should emphasize perceived. I have friends that I have known for years and interact with socially on a regular basis, whom I have never seen in non-jiu jitsu clothing. I'm not going to mention names, but cough, cough you know who you are).

I'm not going to claim to be much better. Look closely at this photo, and you'll see one of these kids is doin' her own thing.

dancin' in a gi

But perhaps what separates us most from regular folks is our affinity for tattoos. I have never seen a research study comparing the number of tattoos on jiu jitsu vs. non jiu jitsu people, but I'd venture the ratio is at least 3:1. In fact, I've seen brand new white belts train for a couple of months before they decide they need a jiu jitsu tattoo. If I had a dollar for every day of training missed by a teammate recovering from a tattoo, I might have enough to buy a Shoyoroll gi.

But to me, this is weak sauce. I, too, have long wanted a jiu jitsu tattoo and have put a lot of thought and planning into what I wanted to get. I have had my design picked out for a whole year (read this blog if you don't believe me). But I refused to take time off the mat in order to heal from a tattoo. So I kept waiting. Ours is a high-impact, contact sport and we get hurt inevitably and frequently. At  some point, I knew, I would get hurt enough to make  me take some time off rolling. And that is in fact what happened.


I'm not going to say that I'm injured  because I have full confidence that my ankle will heal on it's own within a week or two. But, as it turns out, continuing to roll and kickbox with a swollen ankle was not helping it was actually making it worse. My ankle was getting fatter and was starting to turn some fun, new colors. It was time to face the inevitable. I needed to take at least a week off of rolling....

...which meant that it was finally time to get my tattoo!

tree of life tattoo

Here's what the design means:

The Celtic tree of life symbolizes balance, harmony, and strength. I chose it because jiu jitsu is a life long journey. Strength and balance are important in the martial art. Trees grow throughout their lives and sustain creatures around them, which is what I aspire to do in my practice.

The kanji read "jiu jitsu." The white and blue flowers represent my white and blue belts, which I have already received. There are also 3 colorless flowers, which I will fill in purple, brown, and black, in due time, with the said promotions.

What do you think? I, for one, absolutely love it! I give props to TJ at Dogstar Tattoo who did an awesome job.

my jiu jitsu tattoo