Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is one of the world’s fastest growing martial arts. It first made its way onto the world stage when Royce Gracie used it in the early days of the UFC to become champion. Since then, it has exploded in popularity, with people of all backgrounds, races, genders, and ages taking up the martial art.
So what is the appeal, and what are the benefits of training BJJ?
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a journey of self-discovery
BJJ is more than just a method to physically conquer an opponent. Many practitioners of BJJ gain a newfound confidence in their ability to not only physically challenge themselves, but mentally challenge themselves as well to break their own perceived limitations.
According to Sanjan, a student who trains BJJ at Legends MMA in Melbourne CBD: “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been a life changing experience for me. I am constantly being challenged whilst I am training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and this has given me the skillset to push past any obstacles.”
BJJ takes the practitioner out of their head and into the physical world, where they are actively engaged and pushed beyond their comfort zone.
“Every class is challenging and there is always something new to learn or develop my skills further,” says Patrina, a BJJ student at Legends. “The support I receive from the instructors and teammates encourages me to want to be better than I was the day before.”
With the physical aspect of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu comes fitness
BJJ is an activity where you are constantly grappling with another person to catch them in one of your submission moves…while resisting their attempts to do the same! Training consistently will strengthen your body to handle the demands of the activity.
Unlike many other martial arts styles, BJJ heavily emphasises live, unrehearsed training. Every BJJ class includes a “rolling” session where the student will have a chance to implement what they have learned against other members. As the student trains more and more, the moves become muscle memory, which the practitioner can perform intuitively.
Zareena, a brand developer who practices BJJ at Legends MMA in Melbourne CBD says, “Every time I learn a new move or make mistakes, I get really motivated to conquer my mistakes and improve.”
BJJ also tends to fit well with smaller people, as it gives them the ability to challenge stronger and bigger people. Because striking is not a component of BJJ, students don’t need to worry about incurring injuries from heavy blows. This gives people a sense of security knowing that no matter their body type, they can prove to be effective in training BJJ.
One of the major factors that keeps people training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the community which has your back
BJJ at Legends MMA is taught in a relaxed rather than rigid environment where everyone is made to feel welcome.
As Andrew, from Legends describes it: “It’s very intimidating to start anything up, but from day one; I felt relaxed and comfortable. If I was to sum up Legends in three words it would be: welcoming, supportive and fun.”
“At Legends there’s a perfect balance of fun and discipline,” says Zareena. “All the people I have trained with share the same great attitude, we all start and finish with a smile. Also, the music is really good!”
Students train with all members of the gym, to ensure they’re used to rolling with different people. As a result, everyone has the chance to meet each other and practice with each other. Everyone becomes crucial to each other’s growth and development as a martial artist. BJJ is about community as well as the individual journey.
At a quick glance, it may be hard to tell that BJJ is about combat sports. BJJ is less about brawling and more like a game of human chess; each person competing for the dominant position and looking to finish with a check-mate. The check-mate is the submission where the opponent can go no further and is in a position where they have to tap out.
This more strategical aspect of BJJ may be one of the reasons it appeals to people of all backgrounds. Legends MMA has female and male members who are engineers, students, bankers, business owners, and many more. In fact, this is the case with BJJ gyms all over the world.
One of BJJ’s most distinguishing benefits is its effectiveness in self-defence. BJJ approaches combat sports from a scientific point of view, having the student practice only what works, and not practice what doesn’t. The emphasis on live training assures that the practitioner will have real world experience knowing their capabilities and how they handle grappling an opponent.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu may seem intimidating to try at first, but you will quickly feel welcome, and the benefits to you are unlimited.
Just do it. You won’t regret it.