Most days of the week were the same. School, train Jiu jitsu, homework in between. Weeks roll by without much changing as we flowed through the rhythm of the normal week. As March 2020 approached, I remember talking excitedly about our upcoming trip to Utah. It was a new adventure, a break from our everyday lives. Little did we know that our everyday lives were about to change drastically.

Spring break turned into 3 weeks, those 3 weeks turned into another month, and all of a sudden we never went back to school. In person Jiu jitsu stopped, and our lives became centered around zoom meetings and classes. I am grateful that we had those options, but as the weeks marched on, we slowly felt the increasing loss of human connection. As adults it was hard to cope, but there was an even greater impact on the kids. All of these things that we took for granted, all of these “normal” things felt a painful loss. The realization that school is so much more than an education and Jiu jitsu is so much more than a sport. It’s human connection, it’s relationships, and it’s basic human need to share in life with others.

Slowly, we started venturing out again. Our girls started training Jiu jitsu again at Elementum in September. It was the first interactions they had with other children in a group setting since March. At first, both girls were a bit shy. Our normally extroverted and outgoing oldest daughter sat quietly in her first few classes. It almost felt like she forgot some of the skills that she had been training for the past 3 years. Little by little, with Coach Tarsis’s encouragement and patience, I saw them start to come alive.  Their confidence came back, and not just on the mats. Their joy overflowed to all aspects of their lives. I felt this stress and sadness lift from them. It was then that I realized the impact of Jiu jitsu reaches far beyond the 40 minute time on the mats.