CAN BRAZILIAN JIUJITSU MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON?
If you train Brazilian JiuJitsu there may be a variety of reasons why. From learning self defense, physical improvement, mental health, or perhaps social reasons. All of the before mentioned reasons to train BJJ are all potential benefits of training in the "gentle art," but i'd like to pose a serious question. Can Brazilian JiuJitsu make you a better person?
As most of you reading this know, JuiJitsu is one of the most physically demanding martial arts. It has been said that someone can burn up to 1000 calories in a single BJJ class, and if anyone reading this has ever rolled longer than 20 minutes straight, they can attest to the demanding nature of "fighting" or "rolling" against another human at full resistance. These training sessions can also give one the confidence and physical ability to defend themselves when faced with a self defense situation.
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Jujitsu can also significantly help ones mental state. Having a stress release after a hard days work is one of the most important things a person can do both physically and emotionally. Once on the mats, a JiuJitsu practitioner leaves the stress of work behind and immerses themselves in the gentle art. The physically taxing nature of BJJ causes a release of endorphins in the human body, giving the BJJ practitioner a natural "high," much like a runner describes after a long run.
Another benefit of training in Brazilian jujitsu is the social aspect and the comradery of a team that one will feel by training the gentle art with others with the same purpose. It is an amazing feeling to enter the JjuJitsu dojo and instantly have a common bond with other human beings from different races, social economic backgrounds and gender. No matter ones life history, we all join in a common cause, to learn the amazing art of Brazilian JiuJitsu. JiuJitsu is a unique martial art that can only be practiced and trained with another human being. By helping one another accomplish goals during training, we also better ourselves and learn that our team goals come before our individual needs.
On a personal level, Brazilian JiuJitsu has truly enriched every aspect of my life. In my opinion, there is no greater martial art that can help a person become a better human being. The reason I believe this is true, is Brazilian JiuJitsu naturally puts us in very vulnerable, stressful, and often times uncomfortable situations. These tough circumstances define many of life's obstacles. As many of you know who train, being trapped on the bottom of a larger person’s mount is one of the most uncomfortable and helpless feelings in the word. If you panic, things will get worse, but if you stay calm and think through the situation, you will persevere energy and eventually survive. This JiuJitsu scenario can be directly translated to everyday life. Being able to stay calm and work through difficult situations as they come at us on a daily basis will give us the ability to work through the problems in a relaxed manner, keeping ourselves and those around us in a harmonious state of mind. The ability to stay calm when things around us are chaotic, is one of the most valuable skills a Brazilian JiuJitsu practitioner can develop.
Even in our personal relationships, we can use our JiuJitsu in a fashion that may not be physical, but more mental in nature. The ability to calmly communicate with others when they are verbally abusive towards us, or when we may not share the same opinion is invaluable. The skill of remaining calm allows us the ability to work through those circumstances often like being mounted by a larger person. If we stay calm and not use "force on force," but find the path of least resistance often times we are able to make others feel like we understand them and that we are not coming at them head-on, or overbearing. Like Jujitsu, we take what other people give us and redirect them in a manner that may be more comfortable for not only us, but also that individual.
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I am often asked how many days a week I train Brazilian JiuJitsu. My response is always "I use or train jujitsu every day". This doesn’t necessarily mean that I am on the mats rolling each day, but I am using my verbal jujitsu or Brazilian jujitsu on a daily basis as I interact with the public, my peers, and family members. Through training Brazilian JiuJitsu, I have developed the invaluable skill of staying calm through situations that may cause others to be heightened or cause others to be verbally abusive or worse.
As a police officer, I use Brazilian jujitsu on a daily basis when I am in contact with the public. During my 18 year career, I have been directly involved in many high stress incidents, including two officer involved shootings. During these incidents, I was able to resort back to my Brazilian JiuJitsu training and stay calm when others were not. Having the ability to keep my peace and work through these critical incidents in a calm manner, allowed me the ability to stay safe and protect the innocent lives around me.
So for me, when asked if Brazilian JiuJitsu can make you a better person? The answer is absolutely YES!! I believe this to be true because the lessons learned on the mat directly translate to real world scenarios. Therefore, as we are put in stressful situations on a daily basis, we are able to use our Brazilian JiuJitsu skill set to stay calm, work through the problem and resolve the situation in a manner that keeps everybody involved safe. Brazilian jujitsu is not only an amazing martial art, but for those of us who train Brazilian JiuJitsu this wonderful art is truly a way of life.