Jiu-jitsu For Everyone – What Does It Mean?

If you are a jiu-jitsu addict and follow bjj related blogs (like the Gracie Barra Blog!), news sites and Bjj forums, there is a lot of discussion about the evolution of jiu-jitsu and the way that jiu-jitsu is taught in many academies.


Many of the “old school” – who started training jiu-jitsu way back when the early UFC’s introduced the world to jiu-jitsu – entered into jiu-jitsu when the average Bjj school was heavily focused on fighting NHB (the early form of what we know as modern MMA). Many jiu-jitsu were schools were very tough environments where it was dog eat dog and every training session was about survival of the fittest. Lots of cauliflower ears and thick necks on the mats.


Kids Jiu Jitsu and Self Defense at Gracie Barra

This was often an intense environment, heavily oriented towards competition and in reality…a tough environment that a select few were willing to subject themselves to day in and day out.


This tough environment certainly produced tough jiu-jitsu fighters, but by its nature, it limited itself. Participation was limited to younger 20ish males interested in hardcore training. However this excluded many individuals from participation in our favorite martial art.


“Jiu-jitsu for a few.” Is how the Gracie Barra ICP characterized this type of approach.


“That’s the way jiu-jitsu SHOULD BE!” the old school answer. “We need to preserve jiu-jitsu’s effectiveness and avoid jiu-jitsu suffering the fate of many of the traditional martial arts.”


A fair point.


Yet when we focus too much on sport competition, we forget that jiu-jitsu has a lot more to offer students from different walks of life.


Perhaps your girlfriend or sister who would like to learn self defense to overcome feelings of fear and vulnerability when she is coming home late from school or work. Jiu-jitsu can help empower her to feel more comfortable in different situations.


Then we have have the kids who deal with the very real scourge of bullying at school. Studies reveal that many young people suffer significant stress from peer bullying. Jiu-jitsu can equip a young person with the confidence and tools to deal with bullying. Build social skills cooperating with other students, make friends and start an early habit of fitness for life.


How about the over 35 years old professional? They do not aspire to a tournament medal (although the Masters divisions at big IBJJF competitions continue to grow!) or fight professional MMA, but their competitive spirit can find a great outlet in jiu-jitsu class. They can enjoy testing themselves and staying in.shape without showing up to the office with a black eye.


Those battling substance problems or mental health issues can find a form of therapy on the mats.


Individuals from different walks of life and needs can enjoy the enormous life benefits that come with jiu-jitsu classes at Gracie Barra.


This is what we mean by “jiu-jitsu for everyone” and the mats at Gracie Barra are open to everyone who seeks to challenge themselves and improve their lives through jiu-jitsu.

See also on Gracie Barra : Learning From Tapping? Yes!
Credits: Mark Mullen 
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia
Instagram: @markmullen.bjj