Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not just about getting up close and personal with your training partners and eating Acai after you do so. It is also a very effective tool to build fitness while also improving your mentality and self-esteem. If you ever feel stressed out, number 5 is a must read for you!
Well, you decided to give jiu-jitsu a shot, didn’t you? You saw all the pictures of those great acai bowls and training in exotic locations and want a piece of the proverbial pie. You’ve had enough of that wibbly-wobbly stuff around your stomach and you are going to do something about it once and for all. But just as our beloved art is going to change your body for sure, it is also going to have a big impact on your mentality as well. Here are five ways in which BJJ will change not only your body, but also your mentality.
1. You will become more self-confident.
I remember talking to a good friend who had been training for about 24 months when I first started. I watched his transformation from a quiet reserved guy to this confident guy who was in shape and walked around everywhere with a sense of pride and belonging.
I took a minute and thought about what it was that changed him. Was it the change in his body? Was it the techniques he had learned? Was it because now he felt as though he could defend himself in a bad situation? I had many thoughts before coming to the realization that it was no doubt a combination of these things, along with the sense of belonging and the sense of community that he had become embedded into. Being an ex-military man myself, nowhere have I felt as part of something as I have until I embarked on my own BJJ journey, four years after leaving the military.
2. You will become mentally stronger
In just six months of starting BJJ I had learned things I had never been able to do before and never even thought of doing. While trying, and failing, and trying, and failing, and then finally succeeding, I became much more confident in my ability to master anything if I tried hard enough.
I also transferred this new won self-confidence onto other aspects of my life. I decided that I would not let myself be bossed around by what I thought other people would expect of me. More often than not I caught myself thinking: “Oh, that seems hard – let’s try it.” I pushed myself physically and mentally to achieve things that some would say are not achievable.
3. You will develop more patience.
Progress in anything takes time. When training BJJ you will learn that – as your skills develop slowly over months – your progress will also need to be well nourished by your patience. But trying things like a basic armbar over and over again until you have finally mastered the movement can be one of the most satisfying and life-changing experiences you may have. Everybody who remembers their very first Kimura or triangle or whatever else floats your boat knows what a great feeling it is to have finally perfected the move in its most basic form. In the long term this causes you to become more patient in other parts of life as well. You will realize that consistency pays off and more often than not will finally get you what you want.
4. You will improve your mental stamina
We all start as rookies, even the multiple time world champion you look up to once stepped on the mats for their first time.
When you observe a common session, you will see people spurring others to push themselves through the next few minutes of a brutal warm-up or the last few rolls of a tough competition prep class. The community encourages you to try harder and not give up. Within the first minute of my very first “roll” I knew I wouldn’t die and would be able to get through any workout no matter how many times I tapped or how much it would hurt – just because I had seen how hard the others had pushed themselves as well.
You will establish a way of thinking, “Oh, I can sneak in one more roll or drill a little more.” You will constantly strive for self-improvement. After a while, you will be able to transfer this resilience onto other aspects in life, always remembering that you can take on everything.
5. You will conquer your fears and become more open
As I said before, my friend went from the grey man to the guy would initiate conversation with complete strangers. As I got accommodated with the world of BJJ, he also discovered that he was a pretty adventurous person.
Such it is in jiu-jitsu where the hope for success constantly battles the fear of failure. Jiu-jitsu is challenging, and the hope for success always seems to wane in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Whether your next sparring session is against the class bully or maybe you tweaked your knee in the last class, you will always face some kind of uncertainty about whether or not you should be training. The big challenge is to stay the course and face your fears. Learning how to overcome your fear will be crucial on the journey towards the pinnacle of achievement in jiu-jitsu.
6. You will become more resistant to stress
BJJ will build up your stress-resistance not only for physical exertion but also for other aspects of life, work for example. Your job’s pissing you off? You got a deadline to meet? Well, all of that breaks down to the same principles as a BJJ does: you are under a lot of pressure and you need to perform. If you don’t you will get choked.
But BJJ teaches you how to deal with that pressure. When you can say to yourself “I drilled 350 kneecut passes in 10 minutes today” that isn’t going to finish your next presentation or sign your next big contract for you; however, it will allow you to realize that if you can manage such a bucket load of stress defending the chokes and attacks thrown at you from your training partner, you can also calm down and handle stress at work more effectively by noticing that nothing is as bad as it seems at first.
These are six ways I believe BJJ is going to have an impact on you mentally. Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments!