Today especially, maintaining both fitness and health should be important parts of our daily lives. Many of us are looking for an outlet to clear the head, let off some steam, leave the day behind, and focus on ourselves. For some people this means heading down to their local gym to lift weights, hitting the pavement for a run, or playing some form of sport.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is more than just a sport. It’s more than a martial art. It’s not just about letting off some steam. There are the obvious physical benefits; strength, conditioning, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, core stability, and balance. But the benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu go way beyond the obvious physical benefits. It’s the things that you cannot see that are often overlooked, and have the biggest impact on your life.
There’s a great article I once read that, for me, sums it up 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”.
Here are just 10 of the many benefits that BJJ can bring to your life:
Self Defence – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will teach you important, practical self-defence techniques that will empower you in any kind of confrontation. It was designed so that students could learn practical self-defence as quickly and efficiently as possible. It teaches you how to defend yourself against a stronger and bigger opponent. Age, sex and athleticism are irrelevant.
Stress relief – Things don’t always go our way and everyone has some form of stress in their lives. Learning to deal with that stress can be one of life’s greatest challenges. But the way that we deal with it is the most important thing. After a hard day at work or school, BJJ is an awesome form of relief. When you step onto the mats, everything else gets left behind.
Knowledge – Anybody who trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will tell you the same thing; you never stop learning. It keeps your mind agile and young. You are constantly tested. Techniques evolve. Training partners change. Even when you think you have mastered the arm bar, there will always be someone else who can show you a better way to do it. It teaches you to open your mind.
Friendships- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu connects people. It’s a great way to form life-long friendships. It’s impossible to learn by yourself, and to improve in Jiu-Jitsu you need to help your partner to improve too. If you know Jiu-Jitsu, even at the most basic level you can step into any academy, anywhere in the world and train. You have an instant common connection and people welcome you onto the mats with open arms, regardless of your age, income, background, gender. It’s like having family all around the world.
Self Esteem – Jiu-Jitsu can seem impossible when you first start learning. You have to move your body in ways that are entirely foreign to you. Rolling with the higher belts can leave you feeling helpless, awkward and silly. As with any skill BJJ takes dedication, time, and focus. The longer you train, the more your reflexes and senses will improve. You learn to feel in control of your thoughts and your actions. You are constantly learning to overcome challenges. It’s empowering on you’ll find it spilling into other areas of your life.
Problem Solving– Jiu-Jitsu is like playing a game of chess with your body, though the problems of Jiu-Jitsu are very different. They are dynamic problems, constantly fluid and changing as you attempt to solve them. Before attempting to sweep my opponent, I must work out where his centre of gravity is in relation to his base. But an experienced opponent will see my movements and reactively change his angle and base. The problem changes, and the game goes on.
Patience – There are no shortcuts in Jiu-Jitsu. The process of learning a new technique requires just as much mental activity as it does physical. You need to practice it again and again. Patience applies to timing as well. Even the most perfectly executed technique can fail if delivered at the wrong time.
Dealing with failure – It doesn’t matter how many times you get submitted, you are still learning. BJJ teaches you to reflect on your mistakes, adjusting for next time. Learning to deal with your frustrations is learning to deal with your ego.
“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.
Humility – It’s very hard to progress in Jiu-Jitsu without your partner succeeding too. Humility goes beyond just tapping, too. It should be evident in every interaction on the mats by communicating respect, a healthy self-esteem, and a willingness to concede to others. You will 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.
Commitment – Jiu-Jitsu teaches you commitment. There’s no magic pill. No shortcut. There is no other way to learn and improve but to show up and train. It’s one of the most valuable lessons/examples of hard work and dedication you can teach a child. Simple.