Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is the greatest thing that a man, woman or child can practice. This sounds like a bold statement but I would like to explain how a base of BJJ can open certain doors wide whilst closing doors that might be harmful. If you investigate the lives of those who practice BJJ you will notice a common thread; that Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most important things in their lives.
Why is BJJ so great? It is great for the youth because it teaches them coordination and confidence. It instills in children a mindset of antibullying and teaches them to defend themselves. For men it teaches us how to protect ourselves and our families. It makes us want to get in shape and stay in shape. It makes us throw down the cigarette and pick up protein powder. Women gain the ability to not only defend themselves against men, but to literally wreak havoc on the untrained male regardless of size. It allows women to have the confidence to act freely as they want without fear of repercussion. She will wear the two piece bikini and dare a gawker to act out of line.
So what are the main reasons every person should practice BJJ?
1. BJJ teaches people to deal with adversity
According to Merriam-Webster.com, adversity is defined as “a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.” The definition perfectly sums of a wrestling season. Each day presents difficulty and challenges. There is adversity in making time for BJJ in some cases, and making the money to afford it in others. There is adversity in learning a new skill. There is adversity overcoming the ego, which you will need to do. The sport of BJJ is filled with adversity, and a person can only become more resilient by it.
2. BJJ teaches people a strong work ethic
I would rival any grappler’s work ethic to most that of any other martial art. It’s inevitable that if a person sticks with BJJ, they will do things physically that most people will never do. We do more in our warmups then most people do all day. Most people will never go 100% in live combat with another person. Most people’s success will never be measured on the mats against another opponent. You either win or fail. There is only one winner and one loser in each match. That alone teaches a grappler the value of working hard and pushing themselves. To be successful in Jiu-Jitsu, you have to work hard.
3. BJJ teaches people to struggle
I value struggling when accomplishing a task. It is a trait that I learned doing Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ is a struggle. You start out getting beaten by everyone every time. You are put into terribly uncomfortable positions and are forced to find a way to survive. Everyone needs to learn how to fight, grind, and continue to move forward. Being OK with struggling (and pain), toughens us up and allows us to work through times when things are not going well. The average person usually quits when situations get difficult. We who do BJJ learn to thrive off of struggle.
4. BJJ teaches people to sacrifice
I know people will say that losing weight, “starving” yourself and working out while famished is unhealthy or dumb. However, you can learn a lot from all three. When I started BJJ, I lost a significant amount of weight. I DO NOT ADVOCATE SIGNIFICANT OR UNHEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS, but I learned a lot from doing it myself. I learned the value of sacrifice due to a weight management program. I learned how to go without. I learned how to be conscious of my body weight and what I can and cannot put into it. I took that learning experience of sacrifice and have applied it to nearly every area of my life. Sacrifice means to do things that you do not always want to do, but you do it anyway regardless of the difficulty or challenge. It also means that sometimes you have to deal with things that suck to get better.
5. BJJ teaches discipline
Losing weight or maintaining a certain weight requires discipline even for someone who is grappling frequently at their natural weight. Our body weight fluctuates daily. Some days you weigh 150 pounds and others 153 or 154 pounds without changing a thing. Jiu-Jitsu requires you to weigh a certain weight each contest. Right there is discipline in knowing that you have to be alert to your diet and fluid consumption. But the more considerable discipline is the daily grind of the sport. It is competing when you are tired, sore, and not 100%. Most people who practice BJJ hardly ever compete at a pure 100%. It’s almost impossible due to live combat in practice, conditioning exercises, and competition.
6. BJJ teaches self-reliance
Being an individual sport in nature, you learn to rely on yourself. It is a team sport, though, and you need teammates to be successful. No great grappler can do it without teammates. However, when it comes to competition, it is you and that other person. You learn a lot in those situations. Beating a tough opponent is exhilarating, and losing can be devastating. Those five minutes (the length of the average BJJ match below black belt) ultimately teach you how to rely on yourself. You have coaches and teammates supporting you from the sidelines, but it is you and only you. Many times in life it is you and only you. Do you see the similarity?
7. BJJ makes you stronger, more balanced and develops kinesthetic awareness
BJJ will make you stronger, lower your body fat, and improve your cardiovascular endurance. From grappling, you learn how to use and move your body effectively. The skills you learn in BJJ are transferable to every other sport. You see many successful professional athletes getting in extra training time by practicing Jiu-Jitsu.
8. BJJ teaches mental toughness
Although this is redundant to all the other reasons thus far, it needs explicitly stated. By default, a person will get mentally tougher from Jiu-Jitsu. The practices and competition alone will build mental toughness.
9. BJJ’s rewards are readily apparent
In many team sports, only the star player or skill players are recognized and rewarded for their efforts. In BJJ, it is easy to see success as a participant. When you win a match, it is you who won not a great quarterback or hitter that won the game for a team.
10. Grapplers are ALL shapes and sizes
Jiu-Jitsu is one of the few sports that anyone can compete due to weight classes. The shortest person can compete. The slowest person can compete. How many short, slow people are on a basketball team? How many 110-pound people are linebackers on the football team? Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t discriminate due to size or speed. With multiple age and weight classes at regional and national tournaments, anyone can do BJJ and be successful.
11. BJJ changes your mindset
Call it mental toughness or positive thinking, but after you have grappled, your mind changes, and it changes for the better. You see life differently. You view situations that were once difficult as just another common event. I can’t explain it, but wrestling has made me into a person who sees challenges as opportunities, tough times as things to be embraced, and hard work as the standard to be successful. Because of this, a grappler develops a certain air of confidence and self-esteem that makes them feel that all things are possible with time, perseverance, and working hard.
The points above are why all people should try Jiu-Jitsu. Please reach out to us if you have questions about the sport of BJJ. It is hard. It will be challenging, especially when you start out. There is a lot to learn to be successful. Most people lose much more than they win in the beginning. It is never too late to start. BJJ is school for adults. The lessons grapplers learn stay with them for a lifetime.
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