1) Self Defense.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been proven to be one of the most effective martial arts on the planet by endless stream of MMA fighters who have arm barred and choked their way to victory. Boiled down to it’s essence, a martial art is a way to defend yourself. It’s a violent solution for a problem with no other answer. You can’t run away. You can’t call for help. And you’re now on your back with a bigger, stronger attacker on top of you. BJJ is the answer for this horrific problem.
Furthermore, you want to learn how to be a more peaceful, secure, confident person; then, learn how to kick ass. Not just learn how to be more aggressive. Any meathead can do that. I mean, learn how to someone tap out anytime you want. Make it so that you can tap someone out every 30 sec with the exact same technique executed in the exact same way. If you have years of experience in Jiu Jitsu and you get to roll with someone with zero experience in Jiu Jitsu- you’ll be able to tap them like a beer keg. Again and again. I’ve done this and my students have done this. When you can kick ass, the little things don’t bother you as much. You’ll believe in yourself to such a remarkable extent. You’ll be beaming with self confidence and self assurance. You will feel humbled by your own skill and ability. You’ll feel humbled by how amazingly powerful the art is.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an amazing full body workout. The warm up, the drills and the rolling (sparring) will literally leave you crawling off the mats at the end of class. Running and biking is dull and boring. Jiu Jitsu is engaging, fun and captivating. It’s like CrossFit but with Chokes. With Jiu Jitsu, you can get in get shape all while learning a potentially life saving skill.
When you’re learning you’re basically lifting weights with your brain. Studying and training BJJ will keep your brain quick, agile and young. As well, learning is invigorating and confidence building. The only way you can master BJJ is by being a master student. Learning BJJ is scary; but ultimately, learning anything new is scary. You feel incompetent, foolish, stupid and frustrated. But you know what’s worse than feeling incompetent, foolish and stupid? BEING incompetent, foolish and stupid. Learn new things and become a master student. The more you learn about the world around you, the more engaging and interesting the world around you will become.
When you train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you’ll instantly make friends. You need the help of other people to master BJJ. You can’t learn Jiu Jitsu by yourself in some basement somewhere. You need someone’s arm to perfect your arm bar. You’ll need someone’s neck to practice your chokes. Instantly a strong bond of trust and reciprocation happens. “Hey complete stranger! How about we practice this cool arm breaking technique together. You can practice on me first and as long as you keep me safe all I ask in return is that you give me your arm in return.” Basically with Jiu Jitsu, you can choke out your best friends- pretty sweet deal.
When you’re in a Jiu Jitsu class, the drudgery of a your 9 to 5 grind immediately goes away. When you have some 200 lb dude trying to choke you, it’s impossible to think about the quarterly reports you have to hand in tomorrow morning. Your Jiu Jitsu class will become a little mini vacation from your cubicle and your screaming kids. A Jiu Jitsu class is like your personal tree fort. It’s your sanctuary.
6) Self Esteem.
Jiu Jitsu seems almost impossible when you first start it. Rolling around with the higher belts, you feel helpless, awkward and silly. With perseverance, dedication and focus you’ll be able to overcome the challenges of learning Jiu Jitsu. You’ll feel empowered and soon you’ll feel in control of your thoughts and actions. Learning Jiu Jitsu is learning how to overcome challenges. Over coming challenges is the mortar for building your self esteem.
On your first day of Jiu Jitsu you’ll learn how to tie a belt. On your second day of Jiu Jitsu you can now show someone else how to tie a belt. You suddenly became a teacher. Jiu Jitsu teaches you how to teach. The techniques and drills are overwhelmingly detailed. The only way you can succeed is with the help of your training partners. You will help your training partners and they will help you. When you’re explaining techniques to people you’ll have to be patient, understanding, clear in your explanation, empathic, and demonstrative. The more you teach Jiu Jitsu, the more you’ll understand Jiu Jitsu.
Furthermore, teaching is a skill that we will all use. Throughout our lives, there’s a large likelihood that we’ll become parents, coaches, managers, supervisors and big brothers/sisters; and thus, we’ll all be teachers. The better you are as a teacher the better you are as a person.
Learning Jiu Jitsu is scary. Learning anything is scary. But when you’re learning BJJ you’re learning while bigger, stronger, more skilful Dudes are trying to smash you. In Spanish class, no one’s trying to smash you. In your tax law class there was no smashing either. In Jiu Jitsu, the learning comes with pain. Real, physical pain and moments of extreme discomfort. Jiu Jitsu without discomfort is like surfing without water. You need to face the fear and triumph over the anxiety. When you crush your fears will strengthen your soul, fill your heart with courage and make you hungry for life.
9) Problem Solving.
There’s not many problems to solve when you’re watching Full House. When you’re having a beer on a sunny patio there aren’t many difficulties to face. You’re muscles grow with resistance and strain and your character grows with facing adversity and challenges. Jiu Jitsu is simply a language of problem and solutions. Questions and answers. Some Blue Belt trying to shoulder lock you is simply a problem for you to intelligently dissolve. You need to intelligent access the situation. You need to constantly re-evaluate your efforts. You need to think with a clear head during real time struggles. Jiu Jitsu teaches you a process to solve problems. And BJJ teaches you that there’s an intelligent solution for ever problem even if the solution is tapping out..
The best Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the world can still be easily accessed. You can go to their schools and maybe even roll with them. You can’t go and play one on one with Kobe Bryant and you can’t play catch with Derek Jeter; but, you can fly out to New York and get tapped out 5 times in 5 min by Marcelo Garcia. That’s pretty cool.
After 17 years of Jiu Jitsu, the main thing I’ve learned is that there’s always stuff to learn. You can never know everything when it comes to Jiu Jitsu , the art is just far too expansive. Furthermore, after nearly 2 decades of dedicated training, there’s people with on the mats with only 2 years of training who can give me a really hard time on the mats. There’s always someone smarter, better, faster and younger. Love yourself, love your limitations and love that fact that there’s always more to learn.
Jiu Jitsu takes time. After about 6 months you’ll start to feel like you know what to do. After a few years, you’ll start to do what you know. And then, after a life time, you’ll start to master how you do it. Jiu Jitsu is hard. But do you know what else is hard? Life. A rich, purposeful, fulfilled life is hard. Put down that fried chicken, cancel your Netflix account and get yourself to the gym. What? Disappointed that you don’t have the 6 pack abs in 6 minutes like that infomercial promised? It’s probably because you’re a fool. Smart people realize that abs take effort, hard work and discipline and so does Jiu Jitsu. Work hard, focus on getting a little bit better each day and mastering Jiu Jitsu will come in time. Jiu Jitsu takes time. The ability to do Jiu Jitsu is the ability to be patient.
13) Dealing with Failure.
The more you fail, the more you learn, the more you learn the more you succeed. When you get arm barred, figure out how you got arm barred. Question and observe the moves that got you into that position. If you’re smart and contemplative with your training, over time you’ll find yourself getting arm barred fewer and fewer times. Mastering Jiu Jitsu means mastering how to learn. Mastering how to learn means mastering how to love failure.
14) Love the Journey.
Many focus on the goal- how much money we’re going to make this year or how much weight we’re going to lose before our high school reunion. Instead focus on the process- what you’re going to do each and everyday to help you reach your goal. Focus on the journey and not on the destination. Instead of focusing on your Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, focus on showing up for class tonight and training your heart out. Now don’t get me wrong, you need to havegoals. You need to have a destination. But focus more on the journey. Focus on what you’re going to do regularly and diligently to reach your goals- that’s the key to success.
When you learn to master Jiu Jitsu, you’ll learn how to master everything in life. Mastery is a combination of theory and application. A mixture of book smarts and street smarts. A split between action and study. You can learn Jiu Jitsu but then you also have to DO Jiu Jitsu. Knowledge means nothing without the application. Instead of watching Ace of Cakes, put down the remote control, get into the kitchen and bake me a lemon layer cake. Jiu Jitsu is not just about knowing what to do, it’s also about doing what you know. Bruce Lee said that learning how to fight without sparring was like learning how to swim on dry land. Mastering Jiu Jitsu is to DO Jiu Jitsu. And mastering anything is a marriage between knowing and doing.
Jiu Jitsu allows you to excel at an athletic endeavour. The preparation, training and mental focus before a tournament is everything necessary to find yourself on the winners podium. If you want to excellerate your Jiu Jitsu and take it to the highest level then compete. When you compete you’re understanding what it takes to win. To win means that you’re taking full control over your time, energy and attention during the weeks prior to the tournament. By competing in BJJ you’re empowering yourself to take control of your life.
I’m a giant UFC fan. I bet you are too if you’re reading this article. Once you start learning and practicing BJJ, you’ll suddenly see every UFC fight in a new way. You’ll have a deeper appreciation for the technical prowess of the athletes. You’ll totally understand what Joe Rogan is screaming about. You’ll become the grappling answer key to all of your friends- all of whom watch UFC but have never trained a day in their lives. You’ll be Yoda and all your buddies will be Luke. Before training Jiu Jitsu, watching UFC was like seeing it on a black and white TV. After a few months of training, a UFC match will seem like a HD Blue Ray quality experience.
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