To put it simply, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is so much more than just a sport. It is a lifestyle and it is transformation. Much of BJJ’s newer claim to fame is through UFC and other MMA venues; however, BJJ has been a continuous way of life for many people that come along with training in the “gentle art”. The benefits of BJJ spill over into all aspects of life that range from making the best of friends and creating the ultimate community to massively impacting physical and mental health.
One of the trickiest parts about health is that people can be quick to judge it based off of appearance. Health improvements sponsored by BJJ often challenges the eye because many of the advancements people make in BJJ are not seen in plain view. BJJ is all about mobility, strength, and learning how to use your body as one unit.
Top Health Benefits of BJJ
BJJ draws in people with all different types of backgrounds and goals – self defense, improving fitness, or competing. No matter what the goal, BJJ has awesome health benefits that can be expected when training BJJ.
Full Body Fitness
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a full-body workout that works on functional fitness with training upper and lower body. This type of training improves everyday tasks and over time, the body will change from the functional movements practiced in BJJ. Don’t worry, these changes will reflect in the mirror too. Just be mindful that changes in our body take longer for us to see than we’d think – it’s not a bad thing (it’s just real talk).
Heard of cardi-NOOOO? Common endurance activities such as running, biking, or swimming may have you saying cardi-YESSS instead after training BJJ. Practicing BJJ is a fun and creative way to build endurance (without a treadmill). BJJ is both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, so you’ll make sure to experience heart-health related benefits while getting bouts of shorter, powerful interval training.
Lower Blood Pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure, the aerobic exercise that BJJ provides may help you to manage it better. Since BJJ also requires strength and flexibility, overall fitness level is usually improved and increasing the chances of blood pressure to decrease.
You might find yourself asking how it could be that practicing BJJ and exerting energy could actually give you more energy. Not going to lie, it is a decent and legitimate question. Training helps wake up the body’s nervous system and release endorphins. BJJ is also great to clear your head and allow for you to take up less mental energy after training. There are many ways to recharge and BJJ may just be the right one for you. Scrolling through social media or laying down may be doing the complete opposite for your energy levels. Many BJJ academies (including The Boxing Club), offer early BJJ classes because many students find that they are better prepared for the day after an early class. The combination of the physical and mental requirement to fully participate in a BJJ class awakens the nervous system! Don’t slack on your sleep, though for a full recovery! One of the largest lessons that many beginners in BJJ learn is to conserve energy and to simply relax. BJJ will help sort through the energy you receive from class and help you utilize that energy properly.
Sleep is seriously underrated and it is so important. If you have trouble getting the sleep that your mind and body needs, the art of BJJ may force your body and mind to get in sync. With the balanced workout of strength building and aerobic activity along with the mental focus that is required during a BJJ workout, BJJ is conducive to sleeping better on a frequent basis.
Top Physical Benefits of BJJ
Lower Body Fat
BJJ has been associated with low body fat. In a study about the physical profiles of BJJ athletes, it was found that “BJJ athletes had low body fat, without differences between novices and experts or between elite and non-elite athletes”. Many people begin their BJJ journey’s with weight and fat loss as a main focus. This often shifts to becoming a goal rather than the goal. With such a focus on the human game of chess that is BJJ, many don’t realize just how hard they are working and how many calories they are burning in the process. BJJ sparring rounds are typically around 5 minutes and include very little time for rest. It is a full-body exercise that will have you drenched within those five minutes. With the fluctuation of high and low intensity along with minimal rest, you can potentially burn over 500 calories during 30 minutes of hard rolling.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training is notoriously known for being rigorous and owing much of that reputation to the physical natural of grappling. A typical training session includes cardiovascular training, resistance training, stretching, and breath work. Grappling works all muscles of the body all the time – it rarely lets up.
Top Mental Benefits of BJJ
As much as people hear about the physical benefits of BJJ, sometimes the focus on the mental benefits is louder. Jiu-Jitsu has a way of making you forget the limits that you had originally set for yourself. BJJ training forces exertion of energy, leaving the body exhausted and at peace while having a release of endorphins to elevate mood / reduce stress.
BJJ is an excellent avenue for students to achieve self-confidence that translates into other areas of life that are applicable off the mats as well. Confidence is welcomed and encouraged. BJJ positively influences students to set goals and conquer them with patience and humility. This leaves students with a type of peace and glow that is difficult to match. Plus, BJJ is a fantastic way to build a strong group of friends and community. There’s something about rolling together and finding ways to attack that simply just brings people together in a unique way. You spend years learning and growing with teammates. There is no “Jiu-Jitsu” type – you’re going to come across all kinds of people to become friends with.
The human game of chess, the ultimate calculated game – that is, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ requires a very high level of thinking that includes forward thinking or creating different types of critical thinking to move forward. A white belts’ way of thinking is not the same as purple belt.
Increase Mental Strength
All BJJ students have to face that sometimes skill and technique are not enough. The ability to preserve through a submission and escape cannot be achieved without mental strength and control of breath. The upping of the mental strength game helps to overcome physical disadvantages and ties into confidence.
BJJ always keeps those who practice coming back for more. Whether it is to master a new technique, learning basic BJJ tips for beginners, roll with someone who makes it challenging, or learning more about the lasting impression the ‘gentle art’ can leave on us, BJJ is continuously leveling up and versatile. BJJ creates elements of motivation, discipline, humility and patience. While BJJ provides the opportunity for smaller opponents to win against those that are larger, there will be moments of self-doubt, frustration, as well as physical and mental pain. Through this, those who practice BJJ walk through life with a different type of understanding of how life works.