As sophisticated as human beings are today, it’s easy to forget that we’re still animals. We have an innate need for physical stimulation, essential to our wellbeing. And while it’s not necessarily true that we’re inherently violent, it’s both scientifically proven and self-evident that there is a combative element to the human psyche. It’s no wonder in civilized, modern societies, combat sports like MMA, Boxing, Taekwondo, and BJJ are so popular!
In a very physical, and very combative sport like BJJ, you feel a sense of connection with your true nature. BJJ gets you back in touch with your body, and rekindles the sense of adventure that adulthood tends to filter out.
BJJ is essentially the art of conquering another person’s body with your own. The risk of injury is high, and so is the initial learning curb. Yet, it’s one of the most popularly growing activities for people of all backgrounds today. What reasons would a person possibly have to train BJJ?
Unlocking your potential:
“Emptiness is the starting point. In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup. My friend, drop all your preconceived and fixed ideas and be neutral. Do you know why this cup is useful? Because it is empty.” -Bruce Lee
There’s a saying in BJJ: “Check your ego at the door.”
Because if you don’t, get used to your ego being broken.
BJJ cuts right to the chase and shows you that arrogance is really weakness.
During your first class, you will likely have no idea what you are doing. Even if you have a background in wrestling or another martial art, don’t expect it to help you in BJJ.
In society, we’re so used to worshipping those with exceptional skill in a certain field that we forget one thing…
It takes an extraordinary amount of effort to be good at something. Attaining a new level of proficiency requires shedding the ego – sacrificing our current self for the self we can become.
During your first several classes of BJJ, you will eat lots of humble pie. You will be submitted over and over again. But there will be one unforgettable moment where everything clicks. Suddenly, all the drills will be stored into your muscle memory. Positions and techniques will be subconscious. You will see the patterns you couldn’t see before.
This principle can be applied to anything else in life. You will see that learning anything is possible if you remove your expectations, and are humble enough to welcome truths.
“Jiu Jitsu is perfect. It’s humans who make errors.”
BJJ is one of the most practical forms of self-defence. Nothing in BJJ is left to theory. Everything is practiced, and everything is either proven or disproven.
The problem with many other forms of self-defence is they rely on complex, scripted movements. In a real fight, you don’t have time to think about performing a sequence of moves. Once your fight-or-flight system takes over, you resort to your instincts. Your body will only do what it’s been trained to do.
In BJJ, you will spar every class. Sparring not only gives you the chance to test your techniques, but it puts you in the mental state of what a fight feels like. As you put yourself in the feeling of a fight, you learn to conquer your body’s adrenal response. You can be precise rather than chaotic.
BJJ also shows that no matter how big or strong a person is, the human body is still vulnerable. Joints can be manipulated in a way where they are immobilized or even damaged. Anyone’s jugulars can be squeezed to cause unconsciousness. BJJ is about exploiting the opponent’s vulnerabilities.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
The only way to get good at BJJ is by showing up to class, drilling techniques, and sparring with opponents. Even if that’s all you do, you will notice yourself getting progressively better at it.
The mind is a funny thing. It will sometimes try and trick you into thinking what you do now won’t pay off in the future. It will keep you from thirty minutes of exercising, while directing you to five hours of Netflix or social media. It might even keep you awake the minute you try to get your much needed sleep!
But the mind has its strongpoints. It’s a slave to habits. It will make you do the same things over and over again even when you forget why!
This principle tends to work very well in BJJ. Even if you get discouraged at first, your persistence will pay off. As a result, you will condition yourself to stick with something beneficial, even if it’s as challenging as BJJ!
Discipline is a superpower. It gets us through the uncomfortable process of change for the belief it will benefit later on. BJJ will change your life by instilling this quality.
“If you want to be a lion, you must train with lions.”
BJJ in not performed in isolation. It is absolutely necessary that practice with other people. Sparring requires you to be in close contact with a variety of people with whom the only shared commonality is your love of BJJ. Technique grows through shared experience with other BJJ practitioners. Ideas are exchanged not always with words, but through the art of combat.
Your instructors will also be especially attentive to your technique. They will watch as you evolve, and be there to support your growth every step of the way. BJJ is a social affair!
“Not less that two hours a day should be devoted to exercise.”
You don’t need to be a particularly big or strong person to do BJJ. In fact, the main concept behind BJJ’s creation was that a smaller person can overpower a larger person. BJJ activates muscles in coordination that otherwise lay dormant in most people. As BJJ class consists entirely of resisting another person’s body weight, you will notice yourself get physically stronger. Your endurance will also improve considerably, as BJJ is stamina intensive. In fact, professional BJJ competitors are exceptional strong in this area. The Diaz brothers, who are known for their speciality in BJJ, are also regular marathoners!
You don’t need to run marathons to train BJJ. A BJJ class itself is like an hour of intense cardio.
BJJ also teaches you to conserve your energy. Every new student has been told to breathe, and stay relaxed. When the body is relaxed, it isn’t expending unnecessary energy, it’s doing only what it needs to.
“This game is ninety-percent mental and the other half physical.”
BJJ is said to be human chess. With every move, there is a counter-move from your opponent. With every new set of moves, there is a multitude of possible moves depending on your position, and the position of your opponent. With every new belt, you gain a new arsenal of moves, and the possibilities increase exponentially.
What you many people don’t realize about BJJ is that you’re expanding your brain’s capacity for knowledge. Most of our mental capacity is taken up by stressors of modern life, and we’re never fully aware of our ability to solve problems.
When you’re on the mat, the competition is mental as well as physical. It takes memory to learn the techniques, and analytical ability to find your opponent’s weaknesses to apply the techniques.
Peace of mind:
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.”
Joe Rogan has said his BJJ classmates are some of the nicest guys he knows. They are usually the last to get worked up over petty issues that most people do. Why? Because BJJ allows for a release of stress.
The build up of stress leads to the build up of negative emotions. These negative emotions aren’t just in the mind, the get stored in the body’s nervous system. Even when we’re not able to articulate it, the body remembers the stress, and we become anxious for reasons we don’t always understand.
Combat sports such as BJJ allow for a release of the cortisol levels stored in our body, which makes us happier and calmer. What’s unique about BJJ is it’s combative nature, ensuring we tap unto the deepest parts of our nervous system and are able to fully release the built up stressors. Fight to make yourself happy!