Twenty plus years ago, nobody knew what Jiu jitsu was. It was an underground sport where only a few people know. However with the popularity of the UFC showcasing jiu-jitsu skills, a lot of people got interested, because they see it is the real deal! Nowadays even celebrities are training jiu jitsu, they share pictures on their social media. More and more gyms are opening and every year the community grows even bigger. If someone asks me which martial art they should do, I will tell them without hesitation Jiu jitsu! It will change your life! A combat marital art.
It is an effective martial art close to reality
In Jiu jitsu you can’t fake, if you want to get promoted to a higher belt you need to fight, doing only techniques won’t be enough. Roll with a black belt even a guy in his 50s, and you know that he is still in good shape and tough. Some of them can even crush these 20-year-old kid that has unlimited cardio and explosiveness.
Bjj is very effective because we spar a lot. Youlearn to fight with people who have different body types and weigh, this is why it is better than many martial arts.
On the internet, a lot of martial artists show their art like it has some magic tricks. They show you a technique where the opponent does not resist and after his magical touch the opponent feels pain. However you never see them doing this in live sparring. With jiu jitsu you do techniques as well as sparring which are two crucial things of martial arts.
With jiu jitsu you do techniques as well as sparring which are two crucial things of martial arts.
We are not going to debate which martial art has the best self-defense because if you want to defend yourself, a gun will be your best ally. However you can’t walk with a gun in the street or a bar, plus you don’t want necessarily to hurt or kill someone.
If someone is drunk you are not going to shoot him or break his face because he’s making trouble, you need to neutralize him. Jiu jitsu make it perfect to handle people without hurting them severely. You will learn how to put them on the ground and neutralize them on the mount position or with a knee on belly, then you wait for the cops.
Also if you feel your life in danger, you can just put him to sleep with a guillotine and then run.
For women it is a great way to learn self-defense, because most of the fight ended up in the ground and this our specialty. As a woman you won’t feel any more scared if a man is rude to you, you can kick his ass!
It is hard, get out of your comfort zone
In life we always need to do something hard, so we don’t create a bad routine. If you stay too much in your comfort zone, you won’t be able to evolve and will have a tough time when problems hit you in the face. Bjj is hard although your professor makes it look so simple and easy. To be good you need to practice regularly to develop:
You have so many things to learn, and every time you think you know enough, rolling with a higher belt will tell you are still at the beginning.
Even when you reach the black belt, you will fight against people that have trained for 20 years, it won’t get easier. You will need an entire lifetime to understand Jiu jitsu.
Great place to connect with people
I never thought I would make so many friends with jiu jitsu. Before I use to do karate and Thai boxing and it wasn’t as social. In jiu jitsu the first week you get into training, not only your teacher will help you but also you’re training partners. People are usually very friendly, and are happy to help you.
There is no competition between your partners even though you roll hard and you try to kill each other on the mat. People will share with you their favorite technique or help you to fix your mistakes without asking something in return.
You will even make a great friend in the gym and do things outside the gym, they will become part of your family. When you are training 3–4 times a week with the same people, after several years they are your brothers (or sisters) in the arm, if they are in trouble you will try to help them.
Even in competition, you could make friends! Could you believe it? You fight with someone then after the competition both of you connect and talk about the fight, your competition’s history and your life. You don’t see this kind of attitude in a lot of sport.
Sharpens your mind
You could be someone very distracted, or having trouble in life but in jiu jitsu will make your mind stronger.
When you learn a technique you need to understand a lot of details, which grips to make, how to apply leverage and pressure so you need to be relaxed otherwise you won’t be able to execute the technique. Nowadays it is challenging to have a strong mind, but when you fight in jiu jitsu, if you let your feeling taking over, you won’t be able to perform well.
You need to control your body and your mind to achieve success. When your mind is clear you do not let space for doubt.
We hear a lot that bjj is for the little skinny guy can beat a stranger guy. It is true but doesn’t think that this little guy is weak and has no strength nor cardio!
Try a bjj class and see it for yourself. If you never experienced the warm-up, you will find it very challenging. During 15 to 20 min you will have to make some moves specific to grappling and jiu jitsu such as:
- Shrimp escape
- Alligator walk
- Jumping pushup
- Wrestler sit out
The workout will be intense and it is only the warmup! In my gym I’ve never seen a first-time practitioner finishing all of the exercises, even if he was in excellent shape.
Then you have drills, you will repeat the same technique or moves during x minutes or x repetitions at a fast pace,. You will improve your technique timing as well as your cardio. When I want to work on my conditioning I do several rounds of solo drilling and it put me in great shape.
Finally, you have the rolling part, you could go slowly but if your partner starts to speed up the pace, you will need to keep up and you will burn a lot of your energy. As long as you don’t stall during rolling, you will kill your cardio.
You learn to let your ego at the door
In jiu jitsu, if you are cocky, or you don’t like to lose well I suggest you change your attitude fast.
To make real progress at jiu jitsu, you need to be ready to get smashed during rolling. You could have the physique of the Rock but if you are a beginner and you are fighting an experienced practitioner (not even a black belt), you will get schooled. You might be resisting a little bit because of your strength but in the end, you will get submitted. Don’t be ashamed about it, it’s normal.
Accepting the fact that I was not better than 95% of my partners was not easy at first. But when I embraced this achievement, I was able to move forward and find new solutions to fill my weaknesses.
You need to shift your mind, you are here to learn not to show you is the best. If so, go to a competition, you will understand. Also when you are a blue or purple belt you can get caught into submission by a white belt in training. Yes, sometimes it happens, it does not mean he is better than you, don’t think this way. On the contrary see this as an improvement to work on.
No Age limit! You can start at any time
If you want to start bjj after 30, you can don’t put an age on yourself. You will be amazed to see a jiu-jitsu class different class ages.
In the gym or academy we roll with everyone whether you are seventeen or 50 years old! And be careful, the old guy is tough, they have the old man strength. You shouldn’t hesitate to join a jiu-jitsu class because of your advanced age.
Of course, if you are older your progress will be slower than a 20 years old. You will be tired faster as well, but it won’t forbid you to train and improve at bjj. Everybody progresses at his own pace, don’t compare yourself to others, have fun during training and one day you will reach the black whether it will take you 8 or 14 years.
Competition will grow mental toughness
If you want to learn how to be comfortable even when you don’t know a lot of techniques, I suggest you compete.
The first time it will be hard, especially on the mental side. You won’t find sleep the night. At the tournament, you will have a rush of adrenalineas soon as you get your feet on the mat. You will fight someone you have no idea how good he is. You will question yourself: why you are doing that, you have a life, family, kids, it is a waste of time.
Your mind will trick you and you will have doubts. Competition will help you to get through this, you will experience wins and defeats which will reinforce your mentality. It will serve you beyond Jiu jitsu, in your everyday life you will have confidence in yourself and you won’t hesitate to take initiatives.
It helps with stress
If you are burned out at work or your kids are giving you headaches at home, join a jiu-jitsu gym. After the first training you will have big relieve, you will feel relaxed with all the bad energy out of your body. While training, you won’t even have time to think about your problem, your mind is too busy to:
- Understand the mechanism of technique
- Surviving during a roll
- Enjoying your training with your teammates
Any sport can help you with stress, but I think jiu jitsu does it better because when you step into the gym you get in an environment whereyou can free all of your problems. During sparring rolls are intense.
You are under pressure when someone tries to pass your guard or when you are getting choked. If you panic and continue to stress, you lose the game. So to be good you need to be able to perform under pressure. You learn to use your stress as energy to get to pass your fear.
When I’m at work I see a lot of people being stressed and getting angry for stupid things. I realized that most of them don’t have any tools to expel their anger and stress. So when the bottle is too empty, they explode but afterward they are still angry.
With jiu jitsu, you have better control of your emotion and stress because you can’t just get out of control because you will lose the fight and your opponent will dominate you.
Help with your personal life
Jiu jitsu is not just a martial art, it’s a lifestyle. Despite his young age, it has at least the merit that its values have not been lost. The philosophy of the founders is transmitted by the people who inherit the knowledge.
The martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is inseparable from its culture of well-being towards others and towards oneself.
When you are passionate about BJJ, you start to take healthy habits to take care of yourself to progress better:
- Eat healthy
- Work hard and with regularity
- To know how to rest your body
The values of the gentle art influence how we behave with others:
You will teach people technique as well
Jiu jitsu is about sharing, so when you have a few years of experience, you w ill help the new white belt that needs guidance. You‘ve been in their shoes before, so you know how it can be hard and confusing at the beginning. You will pair with them for learning new techniques and show them the right path.
Plus, it will help you to grow and improve as well because teaching force you to explain things you are doing instinctively.
I remember when I had to tell how to do a triangle, one of my favorite moves I had a blank for a moment, I didn’t know how to explain correctly, then when after the second try I teach it with all the details without hesitation and I found out a way to get my triangle even more effective.
You can compete in your age and belt level.
I think this is one of the reasons Jiu jitsu is successful. Humans like to compete against each other and surpass themselves, it’s been like that since the beginning of the human era.
When you are kids or young adult you like to compete it is fun and you have time. There are a lot of sports that are open to you and if you are talented you can turn pro. However if you start the sport late and you want to compete it could be hard because you will fight with young guys that have been training for a decade so you will be frustrated.
In jiu jitsu, competitions are different. First you will fight with people of the same belt level as you so until black belt you have almost identical years of experience. Also, you can fight people of your group age, the master division! If you are forty years old, you will fight only people between 40 and 45 years. And this is great because as an amateur you could compete and fight people of your level.
However when you reach black belt you still have the grouped age level but don’t think it will be easy. You could end up fighting against someone who has 20 years of experience as a black belt. If so enjoy it, because you might fight someone famous in the jiu-jitsu community.
You will become good at solving problems
When you fight someone very technical in jiu jitsu you know he’s smart. You launch any attack he always finds a counterattack.
When the Mendes brothers invented the berimbolo, theywere crushing everyone, berimbolo—> back take—> choke.
Then people found out how to defend it and counter it. In the same times the Mendes found another way to counter their defense by doing a variation of the berimbolo instead of going for the back they will go to the leg drag, and then take the bake.
Even though you are not a genius of bjj like them, you will also think this way when you get stuck during a roll. You try to pass a delariva guard and every time you get swept. You will analyze what’s wrong, and find a way to pass. You will do a trial and error to find the right way to pass. This how you get better at jiu jitsu, by solving the problems.
You will understand that failure is not the end of the day
When you start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it’s not easy. You are always breathless, you panic when the opponent crushes you with his weight. Well, you fear the day when training is hard. Bjj goes beyond the mats to those who persevere.
When you fight your partner, you cannot run away from reality:
- If he is stronger than you and submit you, you have to signal him that you give up by “tap”;
- If you are choked by an opponent who is 30 kilos lighter than you, you cannot hide behind the excuse of force.
- To progress, there is no shortcut and only regular training pays
- You will also accept your strengths and especially your weaknesses. Accept that others advance faster than you.
- When an opponent put pressure on your face with all its weight, you will have to learn to relax.
These are everyday situations in training that can be transposed to the reality of our lives.
In everyday life, when a problem arises, we often prefer to pretend that everything is fine. We dare not look at the truth in the face of fear that it hurts us. We do everything to avoid confronting our fears and failure.We prefer to spare our ego instead of facing the difficulties of life.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu allows you to learn to watch your fear in the eyes and to face it:
To recognize the failure and to assume it, to remain calm under pressure, to respect the others and especially to respect oneself. You become braver, more focused and know how to adapt.
When we practice the bjj with this true self-confidence, we stop resting on our achievements and we try new techniques even if we know that it will not work on the first try. We accept it because we are aware that success depends on failure.
That’s how Jiu Jitsu teaches me to face the problems of everyday life: taking on my fears and limits allows me to stay open to other possibilities that allows me to surpass myself.
You can train hard without getting injured
One of the strengths of this sport is that we can roll hard without hurting each other really bad. in most martial arts it is not possible. Look at boxing you can’t you can punch hard your teammate every day. If you are always looking to KO your partner, you will run out of sparring partners shortly.
In jiu jitsu, we don’t hit each other’s and if you get caught in a submission you tap. We can go immediately for another round of hard sparring. When you spar with intensity, it allows you to go beyond your limits and know precisely how intense you can go before you start making mistakes.