Reader Question: How Can Jiu-Jitsu Help Me As A Person

Photo By: Stewart Uy

Reader question: I’ve been pondering a lot on beginning jiu-jitsu for creating a fighting base in MMA, but I would like to know how jiu-jitsu will help me as a person entirely.

What are some major physical and mental advantages of learning jiu-jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Traditional martial arts have long had the idea in most people’s minds as a method for developing one’s character.

It is the reason that many parents decided to enroll their children in martial arts classes. Aside from giving the kids an outlet for their boundless energy, the martial arts dojo is an environment where values such as respect for authority, self discipline, and the value of effort and cooperation may be instilled in young people.

Now what about a grown adult? Is a lot of bowing and yelling “Yes Sensei!” going to provide any tangible mental benefits? Probably not. But training in jiu-jitsu does have mental benefits for adults.

UFC commentator Joe Rogan says that he felt training BJJ “inoculates” your mind against failure. That is, training BJJ is going to test one’s resolve and resilience early on. You are going to get dominated, fatigued and tapped repeatedly. Now, how are you going to deal with that adversity? Rogan feels that exposing yourself to failure, and depersonalizing it and instead looking for solutions trains your mind to deal with failure in real life.

There is certainly the ego “reality check” that many people experience when they start jiu-jitsu. You may have been the baddest jock in your high school team, but getting tied up in knots by someone much smaller and less physically imposing is going to test your ego. Do you get frustrated, make an excuse, and quit when confronted with something outside your comfort zone? Or do you set aside your ego and open yourself to learning?

I feel that training jiu-jitsu is a continual exercise in problem solving. Having someone trying to choke you unconscious is a problem! Staying cool under that pressure and looking for an answer (as opposed to fretting about being caught in the problem itself) builds a mental muscle in us. Our minds become more trained to solve problems without focusing on the negatives. We seek solutions in flexible, creative ways as opposed to freezing up and dwelling on the problem.

Lastly, after a frustrating day at school or at work, a few rolls help dissipate that stress; and on our way out of the academy, we feel like the problems of our world are not so heavy anymore.

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