We refer to martial not marital, but in many cases you are quite literally embarking on a devout marriage to the martial arts when talking about Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ). The gi is your wedding gown and tux. The gym is the ceremony. The coming back down to earth as you step back outside afterwards is your reception. It’s a mostly happy marriage. But for many of us new to the martial arts—or just curious—we are yet to know how big of an impact it can have on our lives. What makes people fall in love with it? We’ve given you some of the big reasons why below.
Think of confidence in BJJ like cement (I know I’ve already given you a marriage analogy, but here’s another now)—it’ll be a bit mushy while you’re waiting for it to dry, but once it does: it does. A lot of people will get a good ego-shaking the first few times they participate in the sport. You might even find you’re not as good at certain things as you thought you were. But the skill is in the endurance. Soon enough, you’ll find you surprise yourself with how good you’ve become. After that, you can just as easily scope any room you walk in and feel like you can survive a takedown from anyone (unless you’ve just walked into a UFC champions conference). It’s a weird but good feeling to know you’re rarely the weakest in the room.
BECOME THE PREDATOR, NOT THE PREY
Sort of extending from the previous point, jiu jitsu helps to switch up that inner power dynamic. Particularly with women and smaller, weaker people, jiu jitsu helps to level the playing field between smaller and larger opponents. It’s all about applying technique and the ability to think quickly in tough situations. Jiu jitsu helps you to defend yourself should you ever need it in real life scenarios and come out undefeated.
GET MATES WITH STYLE
You’ll meet a lot of easy-going, friendly, and all-round good mates through jiu jitsu. It’s something about the sport—it breeds them. Particularly in the case of being go-getters, people magnets, and success-hunters. And with the obvious close proximity of jiu jitsu, people get to know each other rather quickly. Expand your crew. You don’t aggressively hug someone a few days a week and not develop some sort of kinship. It’s a social sport!
SUPERCHARGE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
In geekier terms, participating and working out in martial arts is like finding mana in a video game: the more you use it, the more likely you’ll stay afloat in the game of life. Martial arts—and particularly with jiu jitsu—teaches you discipline, humbleness, as well as how to sweat out the bad vibes. A study undertaken by BMC Psychology found that martial arts showed significantly positive effects on its participants, with one group of women in the study reporting higher self-regard after just eight weeks of practice. You’ll see it broadcasted everywhere: martial arts helps to reduce anxiety and depression.
BECOME STRONGER THAN YESTERDAY (NOW IT’S NOTHING IN MY WAY)
In the words of Britney Spears’s “Stronger”: “become stronger than yesterday”. Martial arts can be not only blood-pumping, but mind-boosting and cardiovascular-spectacular. It’s a game of precision and technique, requiring quick calculations and confident posturing. A lot of people will drop weight fast in martial arts, particularly in the ones that require a lot of close contact as part of the practice (hint, hint). The addictive nature of the martial arts is sure to see you improving physically, mentally and emotionally—with speed!