Anyone who has trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will tell you the same thing; BJJ has changed their life for the better. In more ways than one. Of course the physical benefits are obvious. Not to mention the ability to be able to defend yourself against all kinds of aggressors, big or small. But the benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu go way beyond the obvious. It’s the things that you can’t see that often come as a surprise, and can have the biggest impact on your life.
This extract from an online article sums it up pretty perfectly….
“Simply put, training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will basically make you a better person. Think of every BJJ class a miniature Anthony Robbins seminar but with sweaty dudes trying to choke you”.
We’ve put together this list of the top 10 benefits BJJ has:
1) Health & Fitness – These days more and more emphasis is being placed on the importance of looking after yourself, staying active, and being in shape. Jiu-Jitsu is the ultimate full body workout. It will improve your cardiovascular fitness, strength, conditioning, core stability, flexibility, and balance. With that comes the additional bonus of shedding a few kilos and keeping them off. BJJ works every single muscle in your body so you notice a difference almost immediately. The best thing about it is that you’re training with a group of like-minded people who are always pushing you to be your best.
2) Self Defence – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was designed so that students could learn practical self-defence as quickly and efficiently as possible. As soon as you start training BJJ you quickly realise how little the average person knows about basic self-defence and how ineffective our natural instincts are. BJJ will teach you important and practical self-defence techniques which will empower you in any kind of confrontation. Regardless of your age, sex, or athleticism you will be equipped to defend yourself against any opponent, even those who are stronger and bigger. It is an incredibly valuable skill, particularly for typical victims of bullying and predators.
3) Stress relief – Everyone has some degree of stress in their lives. Things don’t always go our way and learning to deal with that stress can be one of life’s greatest challenges. Many of us are looking for an outlet to let off some steam, clear the head, focus on ourselves, and leave the day behind. For some this means hitting the pavement for a run, playing some form of sport, or heading to gym to lift weights. After a hard day at work or school, BJJ is an awesome form of stress relief. When you step onto the mats you are forced to focus on the technique, your opponent, and your next movement. Everything else gets left behind.
4) Knowledge –Long time practitioners of BJJ will tell you over and over again; you never stop learning. Training BJJ keeps your mind agile and young. Techniques evolve, training partners change, and you are constantly tested. Just when you think you have mastered the arm bar, there will always be someone else who can show you a different way to do it. Jiu-Jitsu will teach you to open your mind and to continuously search for knowledge.
5) Friendships- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu connects people. If you know Jiu-Jitsu, even the most basic level you can step into any academy, anywhere in the world and train. The friendships you forge through BJJ are unlike any other. It’s impossible to learn by yourself, and to improve you need to help your partner to improve too. My professor has 40 black belts under him. I was part of a group of ten students who started training at Gracie Petropolis at the same time. No matter what we went through on or off the mats; we had each other’s back. No questions asked. No judgement. To this day, despite the fact that we’re spread across the globe we still speak to each other daily.
6) Self Esteem – When you first start learning Jiu-Jitsu it seems impossible. You need to move your body in ways that are completely foreign and unnatural to you. Rolling with higher belts can leave you feeling awkward, silly and helpless. It’s very easy to throw in the towel, and many do. Just like any other skill it takes focus, time and dedication. The more you train, the more your senses and reflexes improve. You are constantly learning to overcome challenges, to control your thoughts, and your actions. Simply put; it’s empowering. And that feeling is contagious. You’ll quickly find that confidence spilling into other areas of your life too.
7) Problem Solving– You’ve probably heard the expression that Jiu-Jitsu is like playing a game of chess with your body. The problems of Jiu-Jitsu are diverse. They’re dynamic problems, fluid and constantly changing as you attempt to solve them. Before trying to sweep my opponent, I need to work out where his centre of gravity is in relation to his base. However, an experienced opponent will recognise my game and react; changing his angle and base. The problem changes, and the game goes on. It’s like lifting weights for your brain.
8) Patience –In Jiu-Jitsu there are no shortcuts. There are no magic formulas. You simply need to show up and put in the effort. The process of learning a new technique involves just as much mental activity as it does physical. It takes time and time needs to be respected. As a Brazilian I was always taught that it’s not about the belt. It’s about being the best version of you and constantly improving. The belt is just a consequence. As Master Carslon Gracie said; “The belt just covers two inches of your ass”. You need to practice again and again, over and over. Patience applies to timing as well. Even the most perfectly executed technique can fail if delivered at the wrong time, or against the wrong opponent. Then it’s back to the drawing board to learn from your mistakes; recalculate, adjust, perfect, and execute.
9) Dealing with failure – Following on from the above BJJ teaches you to reflect on your mistakes, and adjust for next time. Learning to deal with your frustrations is learning to deal with your ego. It doesn’t matter how many times you get submitted, you are still learning. Jiu-Jitsu teaches us to master our emotion. If you can deal with failure on the mats you can deal with failure off the mats. Just because someone made you tap today, doesn’t mean you’re going to get tapped tomorrow.
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley.
10) Humility – If you want to progress in Jiu-Jitsu you need to have a white belt mind. That is, humble enough to learn from every single person. Humility goes beyond just tapping too. It should be evident in the way you handle yourself on and off the mats. Respect, a healthy self-esteem, and a willingness to concede to others are all part of the journey. If you have the privilege of watching high level belts demonstrate humility, by celebrating the progress of the novice white belt. These players demonstrate that humility is not only the bigger choice, it is also the way to improvement.
A true understanding and appreciation of the Jiu-Jitsu philosophy prepares you for life and everything it throws your way. It guides you to a healthier lifestyle and the most efficient use of mental, physical, and spiritual strength. When you embrace this philosophy it becomes a way to live, a way to be a better human being.
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