Although Brazilian jiu-jitsu has gotten a lot of mileage as of late thanks to the exploits of numerous UFC fighters like B.J. Penn, you have to admit that it is not yet as popular as other martial arts like karate and judo. This is not surprising because BJJ is relatively new compared to other martial arts. But there are lots of reasons why you would want to learn this sport.
One of the appeals of BJJ is that it is designed for everyone. You don’t really have to be strong and big to be able to apply the movements of this martial art. So if you have been thinking about learning BJJ, here are reasons to push through with your plans:
1. Learn Self Defense
Perhaps the biggest motivation to learn BJJ is for self-defense. The martial art, after all, was designed to enable smaller and walker people to defend themselves against bigger and stronger opponents. This feature of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is the same reason why Royce Gracie dominated the UFC competitions in the early 90s, as he was able to handle bigger and stronger opponents despite weighing just 170 pounds.
Just imagine the possibilities when you know Brazilian jiu-jitsu. You no longer have to feel worried when you’re walking in the middle of the night, or you’re stuck with some drunken guy on the train.
You may argue that you can always hit an attacker, but what if the attacker is a lot bigger than you? Or what if you hit the guy too hard that the police tag you for a crime like serious physical injury?
With BJJ, you’ll learn how to neutralize a threat without hitting the attacker in the face, or breaking his arm, or hurting him. Simply put, you can defend yourself against any attack without hurting another guy and putting yourself in a legal mess.
2. It Keeps You In Shape
You don’t need to run for miles or lift heavy weights to keep yourself in shape. By training for BJJ, you can maintain your ideal weight or even better, lose some unwanted pounds.
In fact, you can burn more calories when you engage in a light BJJ training than doing aerobics or engaging in light yoga. A light Brazilian jiu-jitsu training can burn as much as 3.25 calories per pound of body weight per hour, while an intense session can burn as much as 4.87 calories per pound of body weight every hour.
Engaging in an intense session of BJJ can make you burn more calories than doing a boxing sparring session, jogging, and swimming at moderate pace. The explanation behind this is that you’ll be utilizing every part of your body in a BJJ training, so you can get a complete work out.
It’s not a coincidence that many guys who studied Brazilian jiu-jitsu have lost a lot of weight since they took up the martial art. Some guys even report losing as much as 70 pounds in just three months of BJJ training.
3. It Can Help You Manage Stress
If you’re always stressed out because of work or family problems, there’s no better way to take out all your frustrations than engaging in a martial art like Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In fact, a lot of BJJ practitioners see their academies or schools as an outlet to release all their pent-up frustrations.
With BJJ, you can get rid of that excess rage. And once you are on the mat, you can focus on your opponent and how to escape his move, and countering it with another move. And since you’ll be sweating out a lot after a BJJ training, you’ll feel reinvigorated enough for you to forget the stressors you had dealt with the entire day.
4. It Helps Improve Your Focus and Mental Prowess
On the surface, Brazilian jiu-jitsu may seem like a physical activity. But it requires as much mental activity because you’ll have to learn a technique, and practice it over and over again. When your instructor is teaching you a technique, you have to pay close attention so as not to miss an important detail which could spell the difference between completing the move and getting beaten by your opponent.
And when you are on the mat against an opponent, you’ll have to think a lot about how you are going to counter his move. There’s a lot of thinking involved in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, more than what casual observers think.
5. It Teaches Discipline and Patience
You can’t be successful in BJJ if you are not disciplined. You must have the discipline to execute a lock or hit your opponent at the right moment. Timing and rhythm are more important than strength and force in BJJ. Patience is also important in BJJ, as you would have to rehearse a move over and over again.