Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has had a significant surge in popularity in recent years due to its inclusion in mixed martial arts, otherwise known as MMA. However, it’s origins, unique techniques, and many physical and mental health benefits are still widely unknown outside of the martial arts community.
Adapted from the Japanese Jujutsu in the early 1900s by Brazilian Carlos Gracie, Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that features grappling and ground fighting techniques with the goal of overcoming an opponent by forcing him to submit. Through Gracie’s teachings, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu evolved into an art form primarily based on one’s ability to focus, solve problems quickly, and center the mind. As a result, a master in Jiu-Jitsu can excel regardless of size and stature.
The numerous mental and physical health benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu make it an ideal sport for just about anyone, at any age.
The following article is intended to provide an overview of the many benefits. As always, please use caution and care when training. This site does not hold responsibility for any injuries that may occur during your Jiu-Jitsu training.
Here are some of the invaluable benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.
Excellent Aerobic Workout
Featuring a wide variety of movements, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provides an incredible aerobic workout. The large number of positions, transitions, locks, chokes, and escapes you will use while ground-grappling with an unpredictable sparring partner will elevate your heart rate and strengthen your overall cardiovascular system.
Full Body Workout for Building Strength
The mechanical movements involved in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu include the ground-based, explosive, and multi-joint use of the muscles. Because of this, a good Jiu-Jitsu class will consist of a variety of warm-ups to strengthen the body and train the mind to transition into these movements safely and effectively. A complete session would most likely include a combination of warm-ups and drills featuring calisthenics, walks, squats, gymnastics, falling, rolling, and partner exercises.
Lowers Blood Pressure
In 90 minutes, the typical length of a class, the continuous aerobic exercise and strength building will help to reduce blood pressure on its own. However, the deep, expansive breathing techniques and ability to remain calm under pressure learned through training will help manage the fight or flight stress response associated with elevated blood pressure, too.
Consistent and regular Jiu-Jitsu training will improve your flexibility with its series of warm-ups and drills. The guards, holds, and takedowns while ground-grappling with an opponent require great flexibility, particularly in the hips and hamstrings. A great Jiu-Jitsu teacher knows flexibility is crucial for improvement and will include stretching to increase the range of motion for better technique and injury prevention.
Improves Mental Health
From the first class, students of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are required to engage in close physical contact with their opponents. David J. Fey, Ph.D. of Psychology Today states that this ongoing sparring triggers physiological and psychological changes associated with human survival, including the release of norepinephrine, adrenaline, and cortisol. When these hormones flood the body, it decreases reaction time and enhances focus and awareness. Plus, the focused alertness that is required to spar with an opponent in Jiu-Jitsu is similar to the concentration achieved during mindfulness meditation which results in reduced stress and worries over external challenges. Overall it will increase your persistence, patience, confidence, and ability to solve problems quickly.
How to Start Jiu-Jitsu
It’s helpful to read a bit about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and what a typical class entails so you can be sure it’s a sport in which you want to train. Whether your interest is for regular exercise, self-defense, or as a competitive endeavor, you don’t want to be caught off guard when you attend your first class.
Contact the Jiu-Jitsu schools in your area and talk to an instructor about the school’s philosophy of training, class levels offered, the schedule, the dress code for classes (like whether a gi is required or if regular gym clothes are fine), and how much it costs. Most likely you will be able to observe a class before deciding whether or not to join, so check out all schools that interest you to be sure you choose the best one for your needs.
Follow your instructor’s lead as far as suggested clothing, hygiene, warming up, stretching before class, and how soon to begin sparring with a partner. Of course, be sure to read up on and observe all of the school’s policies before beginning.
Should you decide to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, remember to take it one class at a time and that the journey is far more rewarding than the final destination. When you approach it from this balanced perspective and with a calm mind, you will be sure to receive all of the health benefits mentioned above of this exceptional martial art and countless more the longer you train.