I believe the most important aspect of jiu-jitsu is the community. Jiu-jitsu already has so many benefits including improved physical and mental health, self-defense, along with being a part of a community. The typical result after taking a jiu-jitsu class is an improved mood. There are the endorphins from the exercise itself, the mental stimulation of learning from the rolls, learning new knowledge from the instruction, and then socializing before and after class. That comradery is what makes it so fun and also makes all of the other aspects mentioned even more enjoyable.
For shy people, it can be very comforting to see the same faces on a regular basis even if you do not know some of them all that well. The familiarity is comforting and has the feel of a small-town community. I feel like it is easier to work on your social skills within that community if necessary. Jiu-jitsu tests you physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Just like the physical part of jiu-jitsu can be challenging and make you think, so can social situations. It helps to develop both and it is convenient that it is at the same time.
I’ve heard that you need 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 for growth. The act of jiu-jitsu is often like a hug and many people hug before or after class as a hello or goodbye. Essentially, that alone can help your mental health especially if you live alone or tend to be shy. The closeness of jiu-jitsu can be intimidating to those who are not used to it, but very comforting once it becomes the norm for you. Receiving that hug quota is one of the many reasons jiu-jitsu benefits your mental health.
Another positive aspect is that everyone is equal on the mats with factors outside of the skill of jiu-jitsu itself. Unlike the workplace, for example, you have people from all walks of life with a common interest in jiu-jitsu. I compare it to high school but as adults and where people come together instead of sometimes creating separate groups. It is nice to learn how others live and what they do outside of class. It is easy to get close-minded if you are always around the same type of people on a regular basis. With new people constantly joining jiu-jitsu, there are always new people with new stories to share about themselves.
Once you are there for years, then your teammates become like family. They say if you are friends for 7 years then you are family. It’s a special thing to be surrounded by people with this same passion and have them support you and get to know you over the years. The lessons learned on the mats often transfer into the rest of your life. Whether it is jiu-jitsu helping with other areas of life or working through issues in other areas that help you on the mats, it is a blessing to have that experience. I thought I was joining to compete in a new sport but definitely stayed because of the community.