Maybe you’re curious why so many people become addicted to brazilian jiu jitsu or maybe your friend is constantly trying to convince you to give bjj a shot…
Even though I/m currently a purple belt with ~6 years of jiu jitsu training, I, too, was very curious (and apprehensive) before I started.
Maybe you were like me and were non-confrontational growing up and just want to gain some self confidence. I tried many different martial arts when I was younger, until I finally found Brazilian jiu jitsu in my 20’s, and I have been addicted ever since.
If you’re curious about why you should train Brazilian jiu jitsu, and why it’s worth going to your first class -this is the post for you.
Why You Should Train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Key Takeaways
- Nothing gives you more self confidence then knowing exactly how you’d fair in a physical altercation (should one arise)
- Brazilian jiu jitsu hits all of the marks of an excellent modern martial art:
- its safe and very accessible
- its fun
- its great exercise
- provides social interaction
- is very effective for self defense
- can be combined and compliemented with other martial arts (like Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Judo)
- Finally, it can provide your life with passion and achievable goals
Reasons Why You Should Train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:
- Improved physical fitness: Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu offers a full-body workout that improves strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance, leading to better overall physical health.
- Self-defense skills: BJJ teaches practical and effective techniques for subduing an attacker, even if they are larger or stronger than you, making it an invaluable self-defense tool.
- Mental growth: BJJ challenges you mentally by developing problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, and adaptability, leading to improved focus, resilience, and mental fortitude.
- Stress relief: Engaging in regular physical activity like BJJ can help reduce stress and anxiety, providing a healthy outlet for pent-up energy and negative emotions.
- Confidence boost: As you progress in BJJ and see tangible improvements in your abilities, you’ll gain a greater sense of self-confidence and self-esteem, both on and off the mat.
- Sense of community: BJJ fosters a strong sense of camaraderie and belonging among practitioners, creating an inclusive and supportive environment where lifelong friendships can be formed.
- Personal growth: The challenges and obstacles you face in BJJ encourage personal growth, fostering qualities like discipline, patience, humility, and perseverance.
- Empowerment: BJJ empowers individuals by giving them the tools and confidence to protect themselves and their loved ones, promoting a sense of personal safety and security.
- Healthy lifestyle: BJJ encourages a healthier lifestyle, including regular physical activity, improved nutrition, and a focus on overall well-being.
- Competition opportunities: BJJ offers numerous opportunities to test your skills in a competitive environment, allowing you to challenge yourself, learn from others, and grow as a martial artist.
- Lifelong learning: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a complex and nuanced martial art that offers endless opportunities for learning and growth, ensuring that practitioners stay engaged and motivated throughout their journey.
Why is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so Effective?
Emphasis on Technique Over Strength
One of the key principles of BJJ is the focus on technique rather than brute strength.
This approach allows smaller or weaker individuals to overcome larger, stronger opponents by using leverage and strategic positioning.
By mastering various techniques, a practitioner can effectively neutralize a stronger opponent’s physical strength and ultimately gain the upper hand.
Some ways leverage is used as well as other techniques to make a smaller person effective over a larger one in jiu jitsu are:
- using multiple limbs against their one limb (ie. arm bar submissions
- taking advantage of weakness of the body (ie. attacking opponet from the back)
- using larger muscle groups against their smaller muscle groups
- using off balancing techniques (kuzushi) to take advantage of your opponents reaction
- using your opponents reaction against them (ie with push/pull motions)
- using pins to control your opponent and have them waste their energy
Ground Fighting Focus
BJJ emphasizes ground fighting, which is an essential aspect of self-defense, as most real-life altercations end up on the ground.
Fighting on the ground is also much safer than fighting standing*
When you are figint an opponent on the ground they are not able to generate nearly as much force as wehn they are standing.
BJJ training provides practitioners with the necessary skills to control an opponent on the ground, maintain dominant positions, escape from adverse positions, and apply submission holds to force an opponent to submit.
Leverage and Submission-Based Attacks
Leverage is a core principle of BJJ, allowing practitioners to use their opponent’s strength and momentum against them.
By understanding and applying leverage, a BJJ practitioner can effectively control a stronger opponent and apply submission techniques such as joint locks and chokeholds.
These submissions can incapacitate an opponent, making BJJ an effective form of self-defense.
You can also utlize strangle based submissions to submit or incapasitate your oponet while causing minimal damage to them.
What Makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Different?
Unique Aspects of BJJ
BJJ is unique among martial arts for several reasons, including its focus on ground fighting, emphasis on technique over strength, and the use of leverage to control and submit opponents.
Additionally, BJJ is characterized by its close-knit community and supportive training environment, fostering a sense of camaraderie among practitioners.
Comparison to Other Martial Arts
Compared to striking-based martial arts like Muay Thai or Karate, BJJ focuses primarily on grappling and can be practiced at a very high intensity with little injury (unlike striking martial ats).
While striking arts teach practitioners how to deliver powerful punches and kicks, BJJ teaches how to control an opponent on the ground and apply submissions.
Additionally, BJJ’s emphasis on technique and leverage allows smaller individuals to overcome larger opponents, which may be more challenging in striking-based arts that rely more heavily on physical strength.
Is BJJ Effective in a Street Fight?
Real-Life Self-Defense Situations
BJJ is highly effective in real-life self-defense situations because it provides practitioners with the skills to control an opponent on the ground, where most street fights end up.
By knowing how to:
- take an opponent down
- maintain dominant positions
- and apply submission techniques
a BJJ practitioner can effectively neutralize a threat and protect themselves in a self-defense situation.
Limitations and Considerations
Despite its effectiveness, it is essential to acknowledge BJJ’s limitations in a street fight.
BJJ does not focus on striking techniques, so practitioners may need to supplement their training with striking arts for a more well-rounded skill set.
Additionally, BJJ techniques may be less effective against multiple attackers, as they are primarily designed for one-on-one confrontations.
But it should be noted that no martial art is truly effective against mutliple attackers or attackers with weapons
Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
|Physical Fitness||Improved strength and flexibility|
|Enhanced cardiovascular endurance|
|Weight loss and management|
|Mental Health||Increased focus and concentration|
|Discipline, patience, and problem-solving skills|
|Social Aspects||Camaraderie and sense of community|
|Personal growth through competition|
Improved Strength and Flexibility
Regular Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training can lead to significant improvements in physical strength and flexibility.
BJJ involves engaging the entire body to work for takedowns, escape submissions, and attacks, which results in the development of upper body, core, and leg muscles.
Consistent training also helps to improve flexibility and range of motion, as many techniques require practitioners to move their bodies in various ways.
This is why you will likely see bjj students stretching before and after class – because flexibility makes you better at jiu jitsu.
Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness
BJJ is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, as it involves constant movement, transitions between positions, and bursts of energy during live sparring.
Sparring in BJJ is often like sprinting and unlike other cardio vascular sports like swimming or long distance running. It requires a high amount of energy output followed by times of less output.
Regular BJJ training can help to improve cardiovascular endurance and overall heart health, making individuals more productive throughout the day.
Weight Loss and Management
BJJ is an effective way to lose weight and manage body weight, as it combines intense physical activity with a fun and engaging learning environment.
Honestly, you won’t realize how many calories you are burning in bjj because your so focused on techniques, attacks, and surviving.
The strenuous exercise involved in BJJ helps to burn calories, build muscle, and increase metabolism, leading to weight loss and improved body composition over time.
Improved Focus and Concentration
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires practitioners to be mentally present and commit their brainpower to accomplish a goal. Regular training helps to develop mental focus and critical thinking skills, as students must strategize and adapt to their opponent’s movements during live sparring sessions.
The intense physical activity and mental focus required during BJJ training can provide a welcome distraction from everyday stressors. BJJ allows individuals to channel their energy into a productive activity, promoting feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction while reducing stress and anxiety levels.
As practitioners progress through the BJJ ranks and master new techniques, they often experience an increase in self-confidence. This newfound confidence can carry over into other aspects of everyday life, helping individuals to face challenges and overcome obstacles with greater ease.
Camaraderie and Community
BJJ fosters a strong sense of camaraderie and community among practitioners. The challenges faced together on the mat help to forge deep bonds between training partners, leading to lifelong friendships and a supportive network of like-minded individuals.
BJJ attracts people from all walks of life, providing numerous opportunities for networking and personal growth. Training partners may come from diverse professional backgrounds, offering unique perspectives and connections that can help individuals expand their horizons and achieve their goals.
Opportunity for Competition and Personal Growth
For those who enjoy competition, BJJ offers numerous opportunities to test their skills against others in a controlled and respectful environment. Competing in BJJ tournaments can help individuals to grow as martial artists and develop valuable life skills, such as resilience, determination, and humility.
Why Jiu-Jitsu is the Best
Effectiveness in Various Situations
One of the primary reasons why BJJ is considered the best martial art is its effectiveness in various situations, including self-defense and sport competition.
The techniques taught in BJJ are practical and applicable in real-life scenarios, allowing practitioners to protect themselves and their loved ones effectively.
Benefits Compared to Other Martial Arts
Compared to other martial arts, BJJ offers numerous unique benefits.
Its emphasis on technique over strength enables individuals of all body types and physical abilities to excel.
Whereas other martial arts like judo or wrestling, focus on strenght, aggression, speed, and athleticism, bjj focuses on technique, timing, blance, and control.
Comparison to Other Martial Arts
BJJ vs. Judo
While both BJJ and Judo focus on grappling and involve similar techniques, there are notable differences between the two arts.
Judo places a greater emphasis on throws and standing techniques, while BJJ focuses more on ground fighting and submission holds. Judo competitions are often decided by points scored for successful throws, whereas BJJ competitions focus on achieving dominant positions and applying submission techniques to force an opponent to tap out.
Both martial arts offer valuable self-defense and sport applications, but BJJ’s emphasis on ground fighting may provide a more comprehensive approach for real-life self-defense situations.
BJJ vs. Wrestling
Wrestling is another grappling-based martial art that shares similarities with BJJ.
However, wrestling primarily focuses on takedowns, pins, and controlling an opponent on the ground, without the use of submission holds.
While wrestling provides an excellent foundation for controlling an opponent, BJJ offers a more comprehensive skill set for self-defense scenarios by incorporating submission techniques that can incapacitate an attacker.
BJJ vs. Muay Thai
Muay Thai, also known as “The Art of Eight Limbs,” is a striking-based martial art that focuses on using punches, kicks, elbows, and knees to defeat an opponent.
While Muay Thai is highly effective in stand-up fighting, it does not address ground fighting or grappling scenarios.
BJJ, on the other hand, offers a complete self-defense system that addresses both stand-up and ground fighting situations, making it a more versatile martial art for real-life self-defense applications.
|Martial Art||Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)||Judo||Wrestling||Muay Thai|
|Focus||Grappling, submissions||Throws, groundwork||Takedowns, control||Striking, clinch|
|Techniques||Chokes, joint locks, sweeps||Throws, pins, chokes, joint locks||Takedowns, pins, mat wrestling||Punches, kicks, elbows, knees, clinch work|
|Strengths||Ground fighting, submissions||Throws, transitions||Positional control||Striking power, clinch fighting|
|Self-Defense||Effective in one-on-one scenarios, neutralizing larger opponents||Effective for balance and controlling opponents||Good base for controlling opponents||Effective in striking range, defense against multiple attackers|
|Competition||BJJ tournaments, submission grappling events, MMA||Judo tournaments, Olympic sport||Wrestling tournaments, Olympic sport||Muay Thai competitions, kickboxing, MMA|
|Training||Technique, drilling, sparring||Technique, drilling, randori (sparring)||Technique, drilling, live wrestling||Technique, drilling, pad work, sparring|
BJJ vs. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a variation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu developed by the Gracie family, specifically focusing on self-defense applications.
While the techniques taught in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu are similar to those in BJJ, the training methodologies may differ.
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu often places a greater emphasis on self-defense scenarios and teaching students how to deal with untrained attackers.
In contrast, BJJ may focus more on sportive aspects and competition. Both systems offer valuable self-defense skills, and the choice between the two may come down to personal preference and training goals.
How to Find a Good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gym
Factors to Consider
When searching for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym, it’s essential to consider factors such as location, class schedule, gym atmosphere, instructor qualifications, and pricing.
It’s crucial to find a gym that fits your needs and preferences, as this will significantly impact your training experience and long-term success.
Some questions to ask yourself when considering a gym:
- is it competition focused?
- amount of members
- is it gi or nogi focused or both?
- how many high level practitioners train there?
- is the lineage of the head instructor legitimate
- are they only jiu jitsu focus or do they offer other classes
- travel distance from your home to the gym
- cost of membership
- are certain jiu jitsu belts only allowed to roll with others of the same belt
- does the class schedule work with your own personal schedule
- what is the gym culture like
Tips for Selecting a Gym
- Research local gyms and their instructors: Look for gyms with experienced and reputable instructors who have a proven track record of producing skilled and successful students.
- Visit multiple gyms: Attend trial classes at several gyms to get a feel for the training environment, instructors, and fellow students.
- Assess the gym culture: Observe the gym’s atmosphere and how students interact with one another. Look for a supportive and inclusive environment where you feel comfortable and motivated to train.
- Consider your training goals: If you’re interested in self-defense, sport competition, or just getting in shape, ensure that the gym you choose aligns with your goals and offers appropriate classes and programs.
Pros and Cons of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
|You Learn Self Defense||You are constantly think about jiu jitsu|
|You Lose Weight||You have to do more laundry|
|You Gain Friendships|
|You Feel Amazing After Training|
|You Gain Self Confidence|
|You Learn Discipline|
- Practical self-defense: BJJ provides a comprehensive self-defense system that addresses both stand-up and ground fighting scenarios, making it highly effective in real-life situations.
- Full-body workout: The dynamic nature of BJJ provides an intense full-body workout, leading to improvements in strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness.
- Suitable for all ages and fitness levels: BJJ’s emphasis on technique over strength makes it accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages and physical abilities.
- Risk of injury: As with any physical activity, there is a risk of injury in BJJ, particularly during live sparring sessions. However, proper technique, safety precautions, and supervision by experienced instructors can help minimize this risk.
- Learning curve: BJJ can be challenging to learn, particularly for beginners, due to the complexity of techniques and positions. Patience and consistent practice are essential for overcoming this initial learning curve.
- Time and financial commitment: BJJ training requires a significant investment of time and money, including gym fees, training gear, and competition expenses. It’s essential to consider these factors when deciding whether to commit to BJJ long-term.
- Why so many people quit BJJ: The combination of physical and mental challenges, along with the time and financial commitment, can lead some individuals to quit BJJ before reaching their full potential. However, those who persevere often find the experience to be incredibly rewarding and life-changing.
How Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Can Change Your Life
- Overcoming challenges: BJJ presents numerous physical and mental challenges that push students to grow and improve. Overcoming these challenges can lead to increased self-confidence, resilience, and personal satisfaction.
- Developing discipline and patience: BJJ requires consistent practice and dedication to see progress. Through this journey, students develop discipline, patience, and the ability to set and work towards long-term goals.
- Increased safety awareness: BJJ training helps students develop a heightened sense of situational awareness and understanding of personal safety, which can be invaluable in everyday life.
- Handling real-life scenarios: BJJ provides a comprehensive self-defense system that prepares students to effectively handle various self-defense situations, from stand-up confrontations to ground fighting scenarios.
Building Friendships and Connections
BJJ fosters a strong sense of camaraderie and community among its practitioners.
Training together, pushing through challenges, and supporting one another’s growth creates lasting friendships and connections that extend beyond the gym.
Opportunities for Competition and Travel
For those interested in testing their skills, BJJ offers numerous opportunities to compete at local, national, and international levels.
Competitions provide a platform for personal growth, learning, and networking with fellow BJJ practitioners from around the world.
Additionally, many BJJ practitioners choose to travel and train at different gyms globally, further expanding their network and enriching their training experience.
What to Expect in Your First Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class
So what exactly can you expect in your first jiu jistu class:
In your first day of bjj class there will likely be warm up movements, guided instruction, followed by live sparring if you wish.
Many gyms recommend not sparing the first couple days of class if you do not have any prior grappling experience. However, this is totally up to your own discretion.
Your sparring partners will likely be aware that it is first your day, and if not feel free to mention it to them.
All of these partners have experienced their own first day so you should not be embarrassed or afraid to join in on the live portions of class.
If you have first day nerves, you’re not alone.
I get it – you’re going to be in a room with many people who can physically dominate you; some of whom may even prove it later in that class on that very first day.
Anytime you are trying something new there are fears and anxieties, but it is important to accept the fact that these are normal, and that everyone at the gym has experienced their own first day.
These are some first day tips that can help your entry into bjj go smoother:
- arrive early
- introduce yourself to everyone
- embrace the fact that you are new and be open about it
- don’t let your ego get in the way of you learning
- don’t be afraid to ask questions
- prepare a gym bag
- if possible bring a friend to experience your first day together
- try to gather some basic bjj knowledge beforehand
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
What are the belt ranks in order in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), the belt system is used to represent a practitioner’s experience, skill level, and progress in the art.
The belt ranks, in ascending order, are white > blue > purple > brown > black.
Each belt color has sub-ranks represented by stripes that indicate progress within that belt.
After achieving the black belt, practitioners can also earn degrees to show their continued growth and dedication to the art.
It is important to note that belt ranking and promotion criteria may vary slightly between schools and instructors, but the general progression remains consistent across the BJJ community. The belt system serves as a motivational tool and a way to gauge personal development in the martial art.
How long does it take to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
The time it takes to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu varies greatly depending on the individual’s dedication, natural aptitude, and the amount of time they invest in training.
On average, it takes about 8-12 years to achieve a black belt in BJJ, with each belt taking around 2-3 years.
However, reaching a level of proficiency where one can effectively utilize BJJ techniques for self-defense or competition usually occurs within the first few years of consistent training. The learning process in BJJ is ongoing, and even high-ranking practitioners continue to refine their techniques and discover new aspects of the martial art throughout their journey.
Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Hard to Learn?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be challenging to learn, especially for those who are new to martial arts or grappling sports.
The complexity of the techniques, the physical demands of training, and the mental aspects of strategy and problem-solving can be overwhelming initially.
However, with consistent practice, patience, and a growth mindset, most people can overcome these challenges and progress in the art. BJJ is often described as a human chess game, which emphasizes the importance of thinking and adapting during live training and competition. This mental aspect of BJJ makes it an engaging and rewarding pursuit for those willing to put in the effort.
How to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
To learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is highly recommended to find a reputable gym or instructor who can provide hands-on guidance and training.
Joining a BJJ gym allows you to learn techniques, practice them with training partners, and receive feedback from experienced practitioners.
Regular attendance at classes, participating in drilling and sparring sessions, and seeking advice from higher-ranked students and instructors are crucial for progress.
Supplementing in-person training with instructional videos*, books*, and online resources* can also be beneficial. Participating in seminars, workshops, and competitions can further enhance your learning experience and expose you to different styles and approaches within the art.
How long does it take to master Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
True mastery of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an elusive and lifelong pursuit.
Even after achieving a black belt, practitioners continue to refine their skills, learn new techniques, and deepen their understanding of the art. The journey to mastery is highly individual and depends on factors such as the level of dedication, consistency in training, and the ability to learn and adapt.
The concept of mastery in BJJ is not about achieving a specific rank or accolade, but rather about the continuous pursuit of personal growth, improvement, and self-discovery within the martial art.
Can You Learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Home?
While it is possible to learn some aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at home through instructional videos, books, and online resources, the effectiveness of this approach is limited.
BJJ is a highly interactive and hands-on martial art, requiring direct feedback from instructors and training partners to develop proper technique
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an incredibly rewarding martial art that captivates countless individuals across the globe.
You might have friends who are passionate about BJJ or have heard stories of how it has transformed lives, secretelysparking your curiosity about trying it yourself.
As someone who has trained in Jiu-Jitsu for approximately six years and holds a purple belt, I can personally attest to the life-changing effects of BJJ. After experimenting with various martial arts, it was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that truly resonated with me, and I have been devoted to it ever since.
If you’re considering training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and want to know why it’s worth attending that first class, I’m telling you its worth it (so please trust this random internet stranger – who believes not only will you get tons of benefits in bjj but that you can excel at it).
BJJ not only offers practical self-defense skills but also promotes physical and mental well-being, fosters a sense of community, and encourages personal growth.
By taking that first step onto the mat, you open yourself to an incredible journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and lifelong friendships. Embrace the opportunity and discover the profound impact Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can have on your life.