Q: What do Ogden, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York all have in common? A: All hot spots for simulated sky diving.
I was soaking in the hot tub at Gold’s after rolling at Westside. I struck up a conversation with some obvious out-of-towners. They were from Texas. While forecasting an answer having to do with skiing, I asked, “Why Ogden?” The guy sitting to the right of me said, “For iFly.” I gave a courteous laugh at what I perceived to be a joke, and followed up with, “For real, though. Why vacation in Ogden?” Same response, followed by, “The iFly in Ogden is known nationally as one of the best places to simulated sky dive. We compete in sky diving tournaments, and iFly is one of the best for getting practice time in. People come from all over.” My response, “Get the hell out of here. Ogden?”
After another ten minutes of back-and-forth, I bought their story. I was intrigued. I asked a bunch of questions, and found out just how similar jiu-jitsu and sky diving are. We had an awesome talk.
- Similarity 1: Sexual jokes. They related how explaining, “I had her in a face-down position, and grabbed her ankles during our tandem” to the lay public raises eyebrows. I followed up with, “Rich took my back today, and sunk his hooks in to me. He flattened me out; really worked me over.” We shared a laugh.
- Similarity 2: Trust. Apparently you have to trust the people you train with when it comes to executing proper technique while plummeting to Earth. Go figure. I related how I rely on my training partner to let go of my neck when I tap so I don’t sink in to the Dark Abyss. This level of trust builds instant camaraderie among both our sports.
- Similarity 3: Diversity. Whether on the mat, or falling out of a plane, our sports draw a unique mix of folks. Young and old; cops, docs, construction workers, businessmen, therapists (ahem), and salesmen; lower class, upper class, middle class; white, brown, black, and everything in between. Trying to do market research to figure out demographics would be pure hell. Impossible.
- Similarity 4: Passion. The sky diving guys talked about the way their sport consumes their every thought. Their free time is spent looking up videos online, researching technique, etc. When at work, they day dream of jumping from planes and executing cool mid air stunts. Listening to the passion come through in their voices when talking about it was damn near intoxicating, as I know exactly what that’s like. Most of my jiu jitsu buddies can relate to this.
It was a cool conversation. Opened my eyes to another sport, and gave me some ammunition next time someone dogs Ogden.