We are all aware of the positive physical health benefits that come from training bjj. TV host, chef and author Anthony Bourdain (now a 4 stripe white belt in bjj) revealed in an interview that he had lost 30 lbs. in the first 9 months of his training.
In addition to fat loss are the development of strength, flexibility, core stability and cardiovascular health. Rain or shine, you can go to the academy and get a sweat going and work every muscle group in your body.
Like yoga, jiu-jitsu movements require you to utilize the full range of motion in all of your joints, on both sides of your body. As people age, the mobility of their joints is one of the first things they lose. Bjj is a key to staying young!
Less obvious are the benefits that you enjoy outside of the academy.
Here are 3 ways that the bjj lifestyle benefits you outside of the academy.
1) Problem Solving
Speaker Tai Lopez uses the words “mental 6 pack” to describe the idea of developing your mind to the same degree of sharpness as your abdominal definition.
Look at any roll in bjj class as a series of problems that you must solve. You can not spend time fretting that your guard has been passed, you must forget it and move onto the problem at hand…not getting submitted and escaping!
You develop the “mental muscle” to solve problems without getting mentally stuck on the fact that something bad has happened. Your mind develops the habit of looking for the next step, a solution-oriented mind.
This mindset is important to dealing with life’s problems off of the mat.
More than one student has said that after having a 200-pound purple belt mounted on them in class, that the rest of their day is very easy by comparison.
2) Development of perseverance
Discipline and consistency. I owe these two factors all have attained in my life. Things have never happened overnight. Results have appeared as a consequence of decades long toil. It is necessary to persist.” Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
Obtaining a blue belt or a purple belt is not an overnight occurrence. From the start of your journey in bjj there will be many ups and downs. Periods of frustration and slow progress, and alternately days of tournament gold medals and effortless flow in your jiu-jitsu.
You realize that your achievements have come as an accumulation of small efforts – class by class – over a longer, sustained period of time. You must weather the storms and continue with your greater purpose in mind.
What do you do the Monday after winning the gold medal in your division in the weekend tournament? You show up to class. What do you do the Monday after a challenging week on the mats where nothing seemed to go right? You show up to class.
If this philosophy is successful in your practice of jiu-jitsu, how else might you apply it?
If you are attending school to further your education, starting a new job at the bottom of the career ladder or embarking on any new endeavor, you may take the habit of perseverance developed in bjj and apply it to those other areas of your life.
Read also: 5 Obstacles to Overcome in Your BJJ Training
3) Positive Habits
One of my former students revealed to me privately that they had problems with alcohol. The habit of going out for drinks on the weekend had slowly increased until alcohol had started to adversely affect the other parts of their personal life and impact their health.
I encouraged him to make a commitment to show up at the gym 3 x a week for bjj. If he knew that he was responsible to show up for morning class, then he would have a powerful incentive to not have that first drink the night before.
If you are going to demand more from your body on the mat, then you need to fuel it with some of the foods that your body needs. Instead of the deep fried foods devoured after the bar, you are making a better food choice that day before class.
For the most part you will meet people in bjj class who are more oriented towards health and fitness in their lives. There is less peer pressure to hang out in bars and smoke and drink than to get out for a hike or other physical activity.
When your weekly environment and habits change, the number of positive things you do in a week compounds into a far healthier overall lifestyle. This is what we call the jiu-jitsu lifestyle!
read also: 5 Ways to Eat Better
read also: Green Smoothies – Your Body Will Thank You!
How do you feel training bjj benefits you off of the mat?
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Taipei, Taiwan