Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, commonly referred to as BJJ or just Jiu-Jitsu, is a martial art that focuses on ground fighting techniques and grappling. BJJ is unique in that it can be empowering to all people — big or small, strong or weak — by making use of leverage and technique to overcome an assailant. It’s an accepting environment where you can grow physically and mentally, on and off the mat. The benefits of the art are plentiful; we’ll go into a few of our favorites.
1). Better Fitness
A lot of people get into BJJ to improve their fitness. One of the first things you may notice about training is what it’s doing to you physically. It’s different for everyone, but common benefits include weight loss, increased flexibility, strength, and better cardio.
2). Improved Body Movement
BJJ also teaches you how to use your entire body to accomplish movements. Many people are stuck sitting for a large part of the day, forced to develop strange movement patterns and pick up bad habits. On-the-mat training can help you develop better mobility, body awareness, and strength.
3). Mental Dexterity
When you’re learning a new technique, it takes just as much mental energy as physical to learn the technique and then apply it. Oftentimes BJJ is compared to chess because there is so much hidden strategy. The game is to always be at least one move ahead of your opponent.
For adults and kids especially, Jiu-Jitsu teaches you to focus and problem solve. “Live rolling,” which is where you’ll put your learned techniques to the test by pairing up with an opponent, requires you to make split-second decisions and adjust your movement by focusing on your opponents’. You learn to recognize situations and positions, adjust your timing, and move when the opportunity presents itself.
4). Stress Relief
Life is stressful, but BJJ provides the perfect stress relief by giving you something else to focus on, and a way to let out your frustration by rolling some tough rounds and getting your mind off day-to-day troubles. BJJ challenges you with physical and mental stress. HAC Massage Therapist, Katie Mathews says it best: “One of the most important things I’ve learned through training is how to keep calm when in a difficult situation and focus on what I can control: my technique.”
It’s not easy to learn a new technique, try it out, and then fail, but it is all worth it when you finally hit that technique in a live roll. This resiliency will become instilled in you and will spill out into many aspects of your life. BJJ is by no means an easy sport, but because of this, it is also extremely rewarding.
Being able to take down someone who may have superior skills or athleticism along with the mastery of difficult techniques can give you the confidence not only to defend yourself, but also to rise to meet life’s challenges. As one participant in HAC BJJ put it, “I’m more confident in my physical abilities and mentally, which is amazing because I’ve only been practicing for a few months. I’m starting at 42, no athletic background, and I’m doing it. I can flip a 200-pound dude on his back, which is something I couldn’t say before.”
7). Self Defense Skills
For some, this is arguably the most beneficial aspect of Jiu-Jitsu. Katie, who’s been doing Jiu-Jistu for over 7 years, feels BJJ is unlike any other martial art in this respect. “I’ve trained in many different styles,” she says, “and I feel that my Jiu-Jitsu is what I rely on, especially when I’m up against a larger person.”
For many people, Jiu-Jitsu becomes a hobby to pour into, bringing balance and happiness to their lives. Through training, you develop a bond with your teammates. These are men and women that you’ll train closely with and learn to trust in vulnerable positions. Everyone is there to learn and help their partners learn as well.