Article by Justin O’Connell, Merry Jane
Eddie Bravo started Jiu-Jitsu at age 24. He first toked when he was 28 years old.
When Bravo, then a purple belt, first started smoking, he only partook at night. “I didn’t think I could do anything high,” he says. “I’d just smoke weed with my girlfriend. We’d stay up all night laughing, ordering late-night pizza, cake, and ice cream. If anything went wrong, we’d go to bed.” Like many young cannabis users, Bravo looked forward to smoking at night, eating, watching TV, and playing music.
It wasn’t until 2000, at the world championships in Brazil, that American professional mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner B.J. Penn convinced Bravo to try mixing marijuana and martial arts. He asked Bravo, who’d been smoking for two years and gained a reputation for being pro-marijuana, “You don’t smoke weed when you roll?”
Bravo said he did not. “I thought if I did Jiu-Jitsu stoned, I’d get killed,” he says. “And I had been smoking pot for years.”
“You’re going to love it,” Penn assured Bravo.
Bravo’s understanding of the plant and his abilities changed over time. “On marijuana, I am able to function and let that executive function that ties your shoes like it’s a magic trick do what it does,” he says. “When you’re high, you rely more on your instincts and your body takes over and you can doing amazing things. You don’t think about it, you just do it—like shredding on guitar. You can’t think about anything while you play. You practice those notes and after awhile your hands do their magic.”
In order to harness the plant, you have to experiment, Bravo reasons. He compares it to an experienced author switching from a typewriter to a laptop—the typewriter as doing things not high, and the laptop as doing things high.