In November of 2022, I had just finished working for a local haunted house as the front door man which means I found myself very quickly unemployed and very bored at home. Several potential paths came to mind as far as future employment but one thought kept persisting. I always wanted to open my own Jiu-Jitsu academy, and I had slowly acquired a long list of what to do and what not to do from the various academies at which I’d trained, coached, and worked at over the past 13 years. But what would I name it? I have learned from art projects, writing songs, and the birth of my children that naming something is one of the most important aspects of one’s identity and lifespan. The name sets the tone and trajectory for its life before it even exits the womb (symbolically or literally).
I began playing with different foci for my teaching, and writing down the things I wanted to accomplish. At the time I had been thinking a lot about our lack of coming-of-age rituals in modern society and had been drawing parallels between attaining a jiu-jitsu blue belt and becoming an adult. The main drive of my teaching would be to help guide students through their life path using the modality of BJJ and its belt system as stepping stones to their development. I have long maintained that jiu-jitsu makes your life better but should not be your entire focus in life. Thus began a lot of searching for a name that would encompass my goal. I played with words like Spectrum, or Prism, something that would reflect the belts and colors of our martial art. I also tried to attach it to some creature that would symbolize humanity’s transcendence or evolution through martial arts training, something like a unicorn, an anguiped or other mythological creature as a thing to strive for. Helio Gracies’ philosophy of BJJ as a unification of mind and body with spirit at the top led me to use the long standing symbol of a triangle. However, being a bit of a contrarian, I liked the idea of upending traditions and decided to have a brush stroke, a rip in the fabric opening up the middle of this traditional Jiu-Jitsu symbol.
“Chroma” is defined in relation to intensity of color, or more importantly how far away it moves from the color white on the visible color spectrum.
It rolled off the tongue nicely, and stuck so perfectly I immediately wrote the name several times in different fonts across my journal.
Chroma Jiu-Jitsu was born that day in my garage/studio as I crafted my vision and core philosophy through many names, concepts, and ideas. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had just pushed a symbolic snow ball down the mountain that would grow and change my life drastically.