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MENTAL BENEFITS OF BJJ
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MENTAL BENEFITS OF BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly dynamic form of Martial Arts, and like any other sport or action that requires exercise, the body will release a hormone known as an endorphin. These endorphins help the body to respond to physical and mental stress that athletes may endure throughout their respective sports. The process will act like a natural pain relief, as it activates the same part of the brain that morphine does. Unlike other acts of physical exercise or sports, BJJ has a very unique way of making us feel both mentally, and physically empowered. 

What This Article Covers:

Students have multiple reasons for joining a BJJ academy, as many of them will like the physical aspect that is involved. Some students are looking to improve their ability to defend their life, as they can take some realistic life lessons out of learning Jiu Jitsu. A BJJ academy has a renowned reputation for helping students make new friends, and become involved in a community based social group. Many of these students will ask is jiu jitsu hard to learn, and with the complexity of the art, they will need guidance and perseverance to progress. BJJ evolved from Japanese Jiu Jitsu, where the smaller weaker person can use good technique in order to protect themselves against a bigger and stronger opponent. Along with all of these facets, the benefits of brazilian jiu jitsu are considered to be therapeutic to the students of the art. 

Learn the secrets to building peak athletic mental performace from grappling coach Braumon Creighton!

mental benefits of jiu jitsu

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BJJ MINDSET

It is well known amongst every BJJ practitioner how addictive training in the art can become, whether it be the start of their journey as a fresh white belt, or a black belt still on their own path. One of the many reasons for this addiction is because of how much knowledge there is to learn, and how much time and effort the student needs to put in to retain that information.

Moving up the ranks is no small task, unlike many other Martial Arts where a student can obtain a black belt in only a short number of years. In BJJ it takes the average black belt ten years to achieve this feat, and within that time frame comes many challenges, rewards and responsibilities. 

It is extremely important to have the right mindset when training in BJJ, as the art can be extremely demanding on an athlete. Students may enter a BJJ academy with a range of different issues including depression, anxiety, and various other stresses from their everyday lifestyles. Developing the right mindset to train BJJ can take time, but with the guidance and understanding that academy instructors offer, there is a high likelihood that all students will soon develop the right mindset. Even though Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be extremely rigorous and brutal at times, it can also be extremely fun to practise. Once a student has fit into an academy they will begin making friends, and this is the catalyst for developing an encouraging, and exciting mindset towards the sport.

STAGES TO BJJ

Students will wonder what does jiu jitsu teach you, as techniques are not the only thing a student learns in BJJ. Students will start to throw away negative feelings and traits, as they trade them in for humility, kindness and leadership. The first mental obstacle, and the first stage of a student's Jiu Jitsu is to reshape their mind, and how they think. Doing something new is always a daunting task, so just walking into the academy in the first place is a huge step. Many students have been known to give up on their training, as they can be put off by the fact that they will use muscle groups they never use normally, and attempt movements they have never seen before. Is important for a student to stay focused and persevere through any of the negative feelings they may have, in order to improve their mindset for the better.

Another component that students will encounter is their own ego. Being egotistical is a person's sense of self esteem, or self importance. Having an ego is not always a bad thing, because it just means that the student believes in themself, and their abilities. However on the flipside of the coin, a student must even out their ego with humility, and integrity. Some people get a big head when they first enter an academy, as they believe they can take on anyone due to their strength or size. Losing to someone of a smaller stature whether it be an older child, a young adult, and in particular women, students will begin to realise that technique beats power, when it comes to ground fighting. Unfortunately there is more ego in some people compared to others, so it might take a little longer for these students to mature. 

Once a student can overcome the first trial, in most cases they become extremely enthused by Jiu Jitsu. This means that bjj for beginners can become an addiction, and thus is because of how good a student will feel while they are on the mats. After around two years of showing up to class, putting in those hours on the mats, they will be able to piece together the techniques, and the concepts that their professor is teaching. Students will then become a role model, as they help guide many of the new students, while still training and improving themselves. Progressing through the ranks will give students a sense of accomplishment, as they will begin to learn the art of teaching. Although it may take ten years or more to reach higher levels in BJJ, once they have hit the brown belt level, they have a higher standing in the pecking order. Students of this calibre should be a good role model, and have a high standard on how they should act, and talk. Students that show respect will in turn get respect from all the gym members, as their words have a high impact, so students must choose their words carefully. 

Becoming a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the greatest achievements that a Martial Artist can obtain. Due to the nature of BJJ, earning a belt of this stature takes a decade or more of extremely hard work, constant refinement, continuity on the mats, and perseverance through all of the harder times. Reaching this stage of BJJ becomes all about development, as they look to help all of the lower ranked students understand all of their concepts of Jiu Jitsu. Becoming a black belt is an extremely important step, as it is not just about becoming incredible on the mats, it is even more important about how they hold themself off the mats. Honesty and integrity are core values of a BJJ black belt, as well as humility, kindness, understanding, inspiration, and encouragement, are all qualities that a black belt will need to help guide students of all different mindsets.

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BJJ COMMUNITY

There is one thing that is for certain, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy is more than just a place to train, it is a place that should feel like a second home. Students could be having the worst day, but as soon as they enter through those doors they will have peace of mind, and a greater ability to focus on the task. Students will also find that by making new friends at the gym, they will tend to hangout together outside of the gym. Doing activities together, or simply going for food and coffee are a huge bonus, especially for students that have mental health issues. Students that have many of these problems are really just craving human connection, as they will find it tenfold inside a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. The BJJ community are well known for their gracious attitudes, as they all encourage and inspire many of their community members.

One of the hardest parts for a student that has mental health issues is putting trust inside strangers. Although it can be extremely difficult to trust again, students that suffer from these issues should feel comfortable to invest emotionally inside their BJJ academy. The benefits of brazilian jiu jitsu academies are unlike other Martial Arts, as BJJ has an extremely family oriented nature. BJJ is synonymous with showing humility, creating pathways for students to grow, and helping students achieve their dreams and goals through hard work, perseverance, honesty, integrity, and continuity. Training alongside other Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes can be extremely inspiring, as a room full of positive people definitely leaves a strong impact on a new student. One of the most important factors for students with mental health issues, is to surround themselves with the good people, and get rid of all the bad, and negative people in their life. This is the only true way that a student of this mindset can begin to forge a new pathway towards a happier, and healthier life.

HOW CAN BJJ HELP A STUDENT MENTALLY

BJJ is world renowned for helping students with many different mental health issues. Students will suffer from a range of different aspects like forms of physical and mental abuse, depression, anxiety, or even have different variations of autism. BJJ has an amazing program which is designed to help students use their cognitive thinking, all while staying extremely active. It is no secret that exercise creates happiness, so when students are engrossed into a BJJ community, they will soon discover just how helpful training can be. In most cases when students are suffering from mental health issues, all they need to do is build up their self worth with human connection. Training in a BJJ community is full of great people that are all willing to help, as the strong family bond shines brightly throughout the Martial Art.

Some students will question can you train jiu jitsu alone, and even though this can be done by creating their own space at home, it is always best training among other inspirational people. Suffering from mental health issues can be extremely frustrating for a student, as they can often feel worthless, or like they don't deserve to be helped. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teachers are all advocates of helping their community, as this includes people from all different cultures, people of different health issues as well including women, children, men, military and service personnel, and all different types of fitness, physical, and mental health levels.

mental health benefits of brazilian jiu jitsu

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DOES COMPETITION BJJ HELP STUDENTS 

Training in BJJ, and working towards becoming a competitor, can be helpful for some. Competition BJJ is not for everyone as the programming can be extensively tough, and confronting. Competing in BJJ is never expected of a student, but is always highly encouraged, as there are many benefits of competing in tournament matches. Competition BJJ is as close as it gets to a real life scenario, so students can battle test all of their techniques they learnt, and see if it can work in more of a real life situation. This form of competition may not suit everyone that has mental health issues, as they may find they are not yet confident enough to test their skills to that level. It is quite common to see some students that start off either depressed, abused, or have anxiety, really take a liking to competing in a BJJ tournament. Sometimes all a student needs is a goal to achieve, and when a student trains for a BJJ competition they will put in extensive work meaning their focus will be heightened, as they look to represent their academy that they have grown to love.

Although competitions can be extremely brutal, they are also relatively safe, and this is due to the fact that all the student has to do is tap out to end the match. All competition matches are adjudicated by highly experienced black belt referees who know exactly when to stop the match, which is before any student receives an injury. Of course injuries will always happen, as accidents are always a factor, but in most cases students are free to dig deep into the inspiration and try to raise themself higher up in the community. Becoming a high level competitor is an amazing feeling, as they will see results from all of their extensive training over the last two years. This can be a major determining factor as to why a student can pull themself out of a rut, and become more inspired to live their life to the fullest.

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