How Jiu-Jitsu Changes Lives

Beyond the techniques and fun of training jiu-jitsu in class, jiu-jitsu has the power to change people’s lives outside of the academy.

The martial arts have a long association with the development of character. The archetypal image is of the older, wise sensei or master who imparts wisdom to the students not only about self defense but about life. Much of this is derived from martial arts movies and you are not likely to see a wizened, bearded master sitting in the middle of the mats dispensing pearls of wisdom to the eager students.

The life changing benefits of jiu-jitsu are conveyed in another way to those who take up the practice of jiu-jitsu.

One of my favorite quotes on jiu-jitsu (some credit this quote to Grandmaster Carlos Gracie).
Where the weak become strong
Where the slow become fast
Where the novice become expert”

The effect of jiu-jitsu can be especially profound in children : the timid gain confidence, introverts gain experience in cooperating with others, the reckless learn self control.

In adults, unhealthy lifestyles are exchanged for better nutrition, becoming fit in bjj class are substituted for watching TV or going to the bar for happy hour are examples of how jiu-jitsu positively influences student’s lives.

The excellent Gracie Barra ICP Course articulates the benefits of jiu-jitsu in this passage:

Why Jiu-Jitsu Changes Lives?
There is no scientific research explaining why and how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu causes such a positive impact
on a person’s psychology. Trying to find an explanation instructors typically attribute it to some of
the following:
• Jiu-Jitsu safely simulates real combat situations forcing the practitioner to deal with primitive instincts
and overcome fears and traumas that he or she may have been living with for many years.
• During practice, students realize their shortcomings and limitations and have a chance to work on
them on a structured environment where everyone on the team is help.
• Jiu-Jitsu is a sport of contact and the exchange of energy allows deep connections to develop between
training partners forming strong bonds and developing the ability to work as a team.
• Jiu-Jitsu helps people set goals and work as a team to accomplish them. The dream of being a
champions or getting the next belt is exciting and the support from instructors and training partners helps
each student make progress and achieve them.
• Jiu-Jitsu techniques are taught under a certain set of values or philosophy. Embracing this philosophy
is essential to succeed on the mats. However, the benefits of a individual behaviour dictated by positive values
such as discipline, respect, teamwork, loyalty, integrity, and growth leads to significant improvements on
other areas of student’s life such and their careers, relationships, etc.
All the reasons above are just observations from some experienced teachers. The fact is that Jiu-Jitsu
changes lives. It has changed ours and it has changed yours. The largest contribution BJJ training will ever do
for a student, being a world champion or a child, man or woman, young or old, is personal growth.

“I don’t know why I waited so long to start jiu-jitsu. I wish I would have started years ago!” said one new student said both tired and exhilarated after rolling at the academy.
The best time to have started training was 10 years ago. The second best is now!

see also : BJJ Quotes: 10 more pieces of BJJ wisdom to inspire and instruct

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ