By now you’ve probably heard claims that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will change your life once you start training. To be honest, I’ve never met a practitioner, who didn’t think BJJ has had a huge positive impact on their life. Here at MTG, we love Jiu-Jitsu and that’s why we want to keep sharing our insights and experiences through this blog. In this article we focus on 5 ways BJJ will change your life for the better. Here we go!
1. It will make you strong
Jiu-Jitsu will challenge every muscle in your body. Imagine an anaconda slowly wrapping around its prey. All its muscles are working in unison to produce a series of maximally efficient movements. This is exactly how good Jiu-Jitsu players move. The movement patterns in BJJ will attune your body to the physical demands of the sport, making you stronger and more agile.
A side effect of being strong is looking strong. You will start looking more athletic, which in turn will give you even more motivation to train harder and eat better. Things will not exhaust you easily. Your mindset will change, and you will start seeing things as a challenge. If you train regularly, you will develop strength that is above average. Maybe you won´t be able to bench press more than someone who hits the gym five days a week, but you will have a different kind of strength. You will have the kind of strength you get from moving people who don´t want to be moved.
2. You will be calmer
The other day I was walking down the street to visit a friend after a long sparring session. It was the end of March and the weather had finally taken a turn for the better, allowing me to leave my winter jacket at home. As I strolled past take-out restaurants, parks, and people, I paid attention to every step I took, every sound I heard and every thought I had. My mind seemed blank. I was able to observe everything without giving it any value. If you ever trained BJJ you might know what I am trying to say. A good training session will put you in a trance and you will experience a unique sense of calm afterwards. This is one type of calm.
The other type of calm is the absence of irritation in stressful moments. We live in times where someone messing up your coffee order or a train delayed by three minutes will make you upset. How can you then stay relaxed in truly stressful situations, like a heated argument with your partner, or a dispute with your boss at work?
The answer we can give you is: train BJJ. Putting yourself voluntarily in bad situations will make you more resilient. That´s how psychiatrists cure their patients’ traumas. In Jiu-Jitsu, you apply this theory to the extreme. If you put yourself in enough life-or-death situations you will stop paying attention to the silly little problems your mind keeps making up and focus on the things that are in front of you. You will become a solution focused, growth driven and level-headed human being. A great thing to be in a distracted world.
3. You will have more patience
Sometimes everything goes as smoothly as it can. Your sweeps are effortless, you have tons of energy, you see all the openings your partner is giving you, you are always one step ahead, submissions just happen by themselves…you get the idea. Just the perfect training session. You leave the mat feeling like a Jiu-Jitsu prodigy. That kind of perfect session only happens to me once in a blue moon. Or maybe sometimes even a couple of days in a row but it surely isn´t a permanent state.
Sometimes things stop working for no apparent reason. You can´t sweep anyone, legs are heavy, you don´t know what to do half the time, you get tapped by everyone…you get the idea. Most trainings probably fall between those two extremes. In the beginning you will find yourself on the shitty end of the spectrum more often than not, but don´t worry, you´ll love it anyway.
The point I want to make here is that BJJ takes a long time to learn. Learning difficult things does not occur on a linear curve, where you just keep getting better and better. It´s chaotic. Two steps forward, one step back. Slumps and plateaus. Involuntary breaks. Losing motivation. Regaining motivation. Always showing up to training. It takes so long to reach that desired black belt. Seeing this long road ahead of you will make you realize that good things in life need time and that shortcuts don´t take you where you need to go. Only patience and determination will get you there.
4. You will have family everywhere
The people who train BJJ are a family. Once you start training you will be part of this family. I understand this sounds cliché and exaggerated but I wouldn´t write this if I didn´t know it to be true. You will meet tons of people, most of them cool. Really cool.
In my few years of training, I was lucky enough to train in North America, Europe and Asia. No matter where I went, one thing was always the same. People are in love with Jiu-Jitsu. I remember training with a couple in Vietnam. They were both BJJ blue belts and Judo black belts. National champions. They barely spoke English, yet I have the fondest memories of us training, laughing and exchanging techniques. It almost felt as if BJJ was the common language and where you came from or what language you spoke didn´t matter at all. Now just imagine that you have this kind of community all over the world.
5. It will make you more confident
This is one of the biggest mental impacts Jiu-Jitsu has had on me. It also is the result of all the things I wrote about thus far in this blogpost: strength, calm, patience, and community. Having all those things in your life will give you deep confidence. Imagine having a strong body, a calm mind, a patient demeanor, and a community full of awesome like-minded people. Jiu-Jitsu has the potential to give you all of that.
Your confidence will also grow in proportion to your ability to defend yourself in real life. There is something about getting to know the limits of your capabilities in a physical match against another human being. It makes you humble. It makes you understand that fighting is not what they show you in Hollywood movies, where one punch will knock out even the biggest attacker.
It takes a long time to be an okay fighter. It takes a very long time to be a good one. The countless hours you spend in training, brutally expose your vulnerabilities and give you time to work on them. This is a privilege that people, who don´t train combat sports, do not have. Once you learn how to hold your own against a skilled Jiu-Jitsu player, controlling untrained people will seem like the easiest thing in the world. This knowledge will make you carry yourself differently. Not cocky or arrogant, but humble and grateful. Confident.
This is it. Our list of 5 incredible ways Jiu-Jitsu will improve your life. What do you think? Do you agree? Use the comments section below to tell us how training Jiu-Jitsu has made an impact on your life.