Why Study Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

This article was posted on squidoo.com.


There are many reasons to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Each of those that train have their own goals, their own reasons for doing so. There are however, some common themes among those that are attracted to Jiu Jitsu.

Fitness is one of the biggest reasons people come to Jiu Jitsu. Many people want to get in shape but are turned off by spending time on a treadmill or an elliptical machine. Some people want to stimulate their brain as they workout. They want to learn new skills and improve their fitness at the same time. Jiu Jitsu provides this, in spades. Each class offers the opportunity to learn a new skill, a new technique or improve on one you already know. Jiu Jitsu is so diverse in it’s application, movement, strategy, defense and offense that you can literally spend a lifetime training and still have more to learn. Practicing the techniques of Jiu Jitsu gives a person activities that require movement of your own body in different ways than we are used to. This challenges your flexibility and your range of motion. These movements stretch and move your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments which promotes increased blood flow and muscle growth. When you practice live “rolling” or sparring you challenge your cardiovascular system, as well as stressing your muscles and joints in a safe manner. The improvement in your cardiovascular fitness, your overall strength, flexibility and agility will surprise you.

Self defense is another common goal of Jiu Jitsu practitioners. Based on leverage and technique, Jiu Jitsu helps those who are not big and strong survive a physical encounter with a much higher rate of success. Developed by Helio Gracie at 130 lbs., he couldn’t overpower his opponents, he had to work around them. He found the best way to do this was by applying leverage to weaker areas of the body, the joints and the neck. In order to apply this leverage he needed to place himself in a position to do so. Just trying to muscle his opponent wasn’t going to work so he modified existing techniques from Judo and Japanese Jiu Jitsu in order to move around them and not through them. These techniques have been practiced, refined, modified and adjusted to be as effective as possible for all body types, strengths, flexibility levels.

The practice of Jiu Jitsu techniques gives you the ability to survive a physical encounter with a much higher degree of success. You learn through regular, consistent training several things about surviving. You learn what distance helps you not take damage or take the least amount of damage. You learn how to put yourself in a dominant position and maintain that position. You learn how to finish the fight with a submission if it presents itself. You learn that in a fight of any kind, things will always go wrong and that you can still survive. The most important of all of these skills is the ability to survive. This doesn’t mean you are learning to be a “cage fighter.” It means you are developing a skill set which will give you a greater chance of walking away from something we hope never happens.

The last goal, self confidence, is a result of the first two. As you become stronger, improve your endurance and become more proficient in this method of survival and control, you will naturally become more confident. Your self image will improve as you see the positive changes your body is going through. You will become comfortable in your skill; understanding that while not invincible, you have a skill set that specifically prepares you for withstanding an assault and greatly improves your likelihood of escaping with your life. You develop friendships that are real and based on all parties sharing the difficulty and success of training. As you train with these friends you share respect and experiences which bond you in ways that are difficult to find outside of this environment. Sharing the struggle to improve with these friends is not something that can be explained easily. Suffice it to say you earn and give respect with people you are proud to share this bond with.

Why train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Fitness, self defense and self confidence are the most common reasons. Choose your own. Find a reason to improve some area of your health and well being and give Jiu Jitsu a chance. You might find yourself getting more out of it than you expect. Who knows, you might even have some fun!