Brazilian jiu-jitsu was essentially unknown before November 12, 1993. On that night, a young Brazilian named Royce Gracie made history by defeating three men (all of which were bigger than him) to win the first ever UFC tournament. It was a day that changed martial arts forever, as one set of skills simply dominated all the others. Fast forward to 2018, and jiu-jitsu is now practiced across the world.
For those unfamiliar, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling martial art derived from judo. Its purpose was intended for self-defense and allows smaller, weaker people to effectively to defend themselves against bigger and stronger attackers. It’s proven to be an incredibly effective skill set to learn, with thousands of jiu-jitsu academies in almost every continent now available. There are many reasons why learning jiu-jitsu is beneficial. Here are just a few.
1. It’s extremely effective for self-defense
The effectiveness of jiu-jitsu is unquestionable. Before 1993, no one really knew which martial arts would be applicable in real life. Today, nearly everyone agrees that jiu-jitsu is one of the best skill sets you can learn to protect yourself.
Jiu-jitsu is a grappling intensive martial art. It was designed out of actual fighting situations and prioritizes grappling.
The martial art is based on actual scenarios. Jiu-Jitsu training centers around this core philosophy so techniques are designed to effectively address actual tactics and strategies of a real fight using practical movements.
BJJ is all about controlling your opponent. If you’re attacked, jiu-jitsu allows you to safely protect yourself and, if need be, incapacitate your attacker. Not only will this martial art teach you self-defense, it will also boost your self-confidence knowing you can effectively protect yourself if the worst happens.
2. Jiu-jitsu is a fantastic workout
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an amazing full body workout. The typical jiu-jitsu class starts with either light jogging, forward rolls, shrimping, and maybe light sparring or rolling.
The warm-ups alone consist of a 20-minute med to low-intensity interval training session with body weight exercises. Then the instructor spends time teaching the class new movements and grappling drills. Once that’s done, the real work begins. Then after class, you get a full-body workout by “rolling” or sparring with an opponent using grappling techniques learned earlier.
Rolling is one of the key components in training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This is when two students grapple with each other for a set amount of time, attempting to make the other submit using a choke-hold or joint lock. That can sound violent, but jiu-jitsu training is perfectly safe and rarely results in any kind of injury.
Rolling is an intense workout that can quickly get you into top shape. Jiu-jitsu forces you to utilize your entire body, and training will help to exercise your arms, legs, and core. Even basic jiu-jitsu drills are a great form of exercise. Those looking to get into shape while learning lifelong skills should consider training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
3. BJJ helps improve your mental health
Jiu-jitsu helps improve your mental health and manage your stress levels. Nick Maez, a clinical therapist and BJJ black belt states that jiu-jitsu helps fight against illnesses like depression and anxiety. Maez explains that a common situation in mental illnesses is that neurons in the brain aren’t properly firing. Thus, you are left with a “dead zone” within the brain. Jiu-jitsu forces those neurons to fire within this dead zone through its physical demands.
Jiu-jitsu also teaches you to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. It helps you survive under pressure because if someone takes you down and starts trying to choke you, you have to stay calm and learn how to improve your position. Compare that with life outside the gym when you’re undergoing financial and personal struggles.
4. BJJ helps connect people working towards a common goal
Perhaps the best aspect of jiu-jitsu is that it helps bring people together. It’s a martial art that doesn’t involve any striking, meaning you can train with others without needing to hurt them in any way. Furthermore, BJJ students are all trying to get better, and you’ll quickly make bonds with other students while working towards the same goal.
Jiu-jitsu is truly an ego killer. Even the strongest student will inevitably be forced to tap out when they first begin, often by a much smaller, weaker partner. For this reason, BJJ is the perfect martial art to connect with others. No one is over anyone else due to physical attributes, and everyone is trying to improve.
Jordan Bryant: “I’m a blogger, jiu-jitsu practitioner, and a coffee enthusiast. I happily share my experiences along my martial arts journey while trying to inspire other’s to start theirs. You can catch me over at BJJ Informer.”