Brazilian Jiu Jitsu changed my life in many ways, some that I didn’t even realize until I started writing this article. The truth is, without Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I’m not sure if I would be here right now. Although I don’t want to make this article about myself, I believe it would be helpful to explain my own beginnings. It’s important to remember that we all have to start somewhere, and every story is unique.
The first time I witnessed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was after my first Muay Thai class in Tampa, Florida. I was about 19 years old and feeling the welts on my shins from the painful low kicks I was practicing on the heavy bag at the gym. This is around the same time I saw a few people rolling around on the mats and it reminded me of my days in high school wrestling. I decided to join in and thought I could show these un-athletic looking people a thing or two, boy was I in for a rude awakening. The first class we learned the guillotine submission, it’s safe to say my throat hurt for a few weeks after that.
It’s safe to say that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been a love-hate relationship for the past few years. I’m sure many BJJ players can relate to what I’m saying now. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will test you at your weakest points, it’s not just a combat sport or hobby. It’s a passion and a lifelong journey of learning. BJJ isn’t just techniques and submissions, but also life lessons. That’s why those who train BJJ often take what they’ve learned on the mats and apply it to everyday life.
1. BJJ Grows Your Confidence
I know it doesn’t feel great to get beat up in practice everyday by much more advanced BJJ players. But trust me on this, you will grow confidence when you least expect it. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu puts you in many situations outside of your comfort zone. The greatest feeling in the world is being able to technically use your mindset and skill to maneuver a way out of those situations instead of just running from them.
I consider BJJ to be a fight or flight response. You know you’re going to get submitted and humbled, however you’re doing it again and again anyway. This grows confidence that you have faced problems and bad situations in the past and you’ve overcome them. Once you’re able to apply what you’ve learned in Jiu Jitsu to everyday life, you’ll be much more confident in your ability to handle all kinds of situations, through BJJ and through life.
2. BJJ Allows You To Take Control Of Your Life
Realizing you have control over your life is one of the most empowering things possible. If you constantly find yourself struggling to take charge of your life, then perhaps you need something like BJJ. Jiu Jitsu teaches you to persevere when you face challenges and to stay committed to your goals even when you’re feeling discouraged. There have been so many times in my life that I wanted to quit, without BJJ I would have.
The truth is, BJJ has made me stronger physically and mentally. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches you how you choose to respond and react to challenges is everything. You don’t always have control with what happens to you in life, however you do have the control in how you react to it. Stop blaming external things on your failures and admit that you failed and become the master of your future. “When you master your mind you master your life”.
3. BJJ Teaches You To Seize Opportunities
I believe we all have a few moments in life that will define us, whether you take the leap or stay where we are is ultimately up to you. It feels safe inside a comfort zone, in BJJ there are no comfort zones. Hesitation takes you further away from where you want to be and sometimes opportunities only come once in life.
What I’ve taken away from BJJ, is that I’m able to observe my surroundings much more closely so that I can leverage my growth and increase my ability. Each time you roll in BJJ you’ll be on the lookout for opportunities to take an advantage, you should do the same in life. The best part about Jiu Jitsu is that you’re able to seize opportunities without hesitation, like it’s completely natural. The more you do BJJ the easier applying this to real life situations will be. All you need is a Gi (or rash guard if you train mostly No Gi) and you’re ready to hit the mats.
4. BJJ Shows You That Consistency Is Key
I’m sure this is relatable to every single BJJ practitioner out there. When I first started training Jiu Jitsu, my excitement for learning the art was so high that I was completely obsessed from the start. I spent all my extra money on rash guards and bought the best Gi available. I also spent all my extra time watching videos and trying to master each technique. This excitement eventually faded and my body started to ache from the daily punishment.The only way to master Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is through consistency. This is relatable through almost anything else in life. Although you can naturally be good at something, no one masters anything without consistency. BJJ will teach you that consistency on and off the mats is vital to your improvement.
Do you think LeBron James was always that good at Basketball? Now, I’m not saying you or me could be as good as LeBron James at basketball. All I’m saying is that LeBron had to put in the time and hard work like everyone else.. Which leads me to #5.
5. BJJ Helps You Realize Your Strengths AND Weaknesses
You’re going to find out the things you’re good at and not so good at through countless hours of rolling on the mats. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu not only humbles you, but it allows you to use your strengths to your advantages and your opponents weaknesses to your advantage as well. It’s important to understand the things you’re not good at so that you can try to deter your opponent from taking advantage of your weaknesses as well.
You can apply this through life and business in many ways. You should always know what your strengths and weaknesses are and use them both to your advantage. Knowing my own strengths has allowed me to be successful in many ways. While knowing what I’m not good at has allowed me to avoid wasting precious time. You can’t be good at everything, and someone will always be better than you, it’s important to accept this.
6. BJJ Changes Your Body
I say this on almost every MMA and BJJ article that I write, but it’s true. One of the best workouts possible is a 30-45 minute live roll session that will completely work every muscle in your body. Not only does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu help you build muscles that you didn’t even know you had, it also allows you to cleanse your body. I don’t speak for everyone here, however after rolling for an hour the last thing I want to do is put poison (artificial/fast food) in my body. Don’t take our word for it, listen to Ron Burgundy.
I can’t count the amount of times I saw someone come into the MMA gym and completely change their body within 3-6 months. BJJ and other Martial Arts have a special way of completely changing mindsets for the better. Jiu Jitsu has the unique ability to change your body and mindset for the better, in some ways that you can’t even see (true for women as well!). “The benefits you can’t see are more important“.
7. BJJ Allows You To Remain Calm
When you first start your Jiu Jitsu journey as a white belt, chances are that there will be many moments that you tense up and forget to breathe. This is common when you venture out into the unknown, however you’re not alone. One of the most important things you’ll learn on your journey is the art of remaining calm.
This is the one that helped me out the most in life. When I was younger I was always angry about certain things that were deemed out of my control. Through Jiu Jitsu I’ve learned to breathe and remain calm in stressful situations, because after all there is nothing more stressful than the feeling that you get when you’re about to be chocked out. Jiu Jitsu will always put you into stressful situations that you don’t want to be in, learning to remain calm will drastically improve your life. As opposed to boxing, where stressful situations tend to lead to harder and faster striking, Jiu Jitsu teaches you to take it slow and methodically when you’re under pressure.
It’s always important to remember to stay calm and breathe through the tough times. No matter if you’re at a BJJ competition, or if you’re in line at the grocery store and feeling impatient, just stay calm and breathe. I know this may sound silly, but breathing correctly can help you stay calm in some serious situations, in BJJ and real life.
8. BJJ Teaches You Patience
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, patience is not just a virtue but also a necessity in so many ways. It takes patience to see improvement, and unless there is someone you train with that is less technically skilled than you, it can be difficult spending months wondering if you’re actually learning anything. Learning a technique in class and trying it during live rolls on someone more skilled than you can be discouraging.
You must understand and accept that Jiu Jitsu will be frustrating at times. Having your natural strengths and athleticism easily defeated by someone lacking all of those attributes can be a huge blow to your ego. Patience is the difference between being arm-barred or escaping, it’s the difference between breathing and panicking. Having good patience keeps you safe while defending, and in-control while attacking.
Patience is a skill that can be learned and improved everyday. This brings us back to step #2 and #3, putting yourself into situations where it is needed. In Jiu Jitsu, you will be put into those situations whether you like it or not. It all depends on how you react to these situations AND in the manner you react to these situations that will define you as a person.
9. BJJ Brings Friends And Happiness
Although when you train BJJ religiously you may have less of a social life than before. However, let’s not think about the negatives of Jiu Jitsu, lets think of all the positives! You will make so many friends through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, all of who have a unique story to tell on why they started this journey.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, I have lost some friends through my BJJ journey as well. Many friends didn’t understand why I chose to go roll every night instead of going out to the bars. It’s okay to grow apart of people who don’t understand why you do things different, it’s apart of the journey.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has also given me so much happiness that I didn’t know I was capable of having. My happiness comes from the confidence I have to go out and do things without the worry of failing. “You never lose, you either win or you learn“.. Which brings me to my last point.
10. BJJ Teaches You To Never Give Up
“A black belt is a white belt that never gave up”.. Did you really think I wasn’t going to fit that quote in somewhere in this article? The first time I saw this quote it really spoke to me. I was going through a rough time in my journey and I was considering quitting BJJ for good. This quote made me realize that even the black belts I looked up to at the gym were once beginners too. I realized that they struggled with the same things I did and now they’re unstoppable.
Over the many years, there will be times when you question whether or not you want to continue on the path of your BJJ journey. Everyone and I mean everyone has considered quitting Jiu Jitsu at some point in time. It’s those who stuck it out during the worst of times that reached their dreams and goals. I hope if there’s one thing you take away from reading this article that it’s okay to have bumps in the road, everyone does. Those who succeed look for ways to get past those bumps in the road to continue their journey.
If you don’t have time to train in the gym, there are also many ways of practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at home. Please continue to visit The MMA Guru whenever you are looking for the best MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai, and Jiu Jitsu product knowledge and guides.