Anyone who has ever done just about any sport will tell you that training changes how you think. The depth of this effect on the human mind increases exponentially with more taxing and difficult sports, and especially ones that have a deep emotional component. At its core, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a mental sport far more than many others, and it alters the thought processes of every single person who devotes time to it.
For starters training Jiu Jitsu will invariably make people calmer in difficult situations. The experience of being caught in side control by a bigger stronger person, or being overwhelmed in mount eventually becomes routine. We eventually become comfortable in places that most people would freak out and start flailing because in that comfort we can find escapes and reversals. Suddenly, many of us note that we have become far more comfortable than we used to be under pressure, we recognize that spazzing out and flailing isn’t going to be as effective as staying calm and finding intelligent solutions.
Another fascinating element of Jiu Jitsu is the equality that exists on the mat in regards to the outside world. A Fortune 500 CEO can be a brand new white belt while a menial worker can be an accomplished, high level black belt, who you are and what you do off the mats has very little to do with the quality of your Jiu Jitsu and as a result most people very quickly learn humility, even if just in that microcosm. Jiu Jitsu doesn’t care how big your paycheck is or what college you graduated from (if any at all); the only thing that matters in Jiu Jitsu is Jiu Jitsu.
Like many other difficult tasks in life, training helps us put things into perspective. I am not going to be so bold as to attribute these benefits to Jiu Jitsu and Jiu Jitsu alone, but the long term benefits of it on the psyches of its practitioners is amazing. On the long run we become far more confident in ourselves because we know what we are capable of and how far we have pushed our limits.
Like with any other intense sport, Jiu Jitsu forces people to expand their boundaries and explore areas that are unfamiliar and potentially uncomfortable or dangerous. This fits with the old adage that whatever doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. Keep that in mind when you train and you will reap further benefits. How has Jiu Jitsu changed your psyche and your thought processes? Has it surprised you at all?