The Better Jiu-Jitsu Man: How the right amount of stress can make you feel better.

STRESS! Yes. The word alone sends ripples to the greater parts of our bodies. It makes us cringe in horror. The word alone (again) is enough to feel a virtual strain on our necks. But research suggests that stress can make us become better. Now, let’s get BJJ into the picture. Can stress make you a better Jiu-Jitsu artist/disciple/believer/follower/fighter?

We know that BJJ should be a way to relieve stress. But research shows that stress that happens during training actually helps a lot!


Read on.

Stress Speeds up Production of Neurons

The production of neurons improves our performance. A recent study at University of California by Daniela Kaufer and Elizabeth Kirby states that the right amount of stress can push anyone forward; enabling anyone to overcome a challenge. This coincides with our bodies’ ability to adapt to situations.

BJJ Relation: challenge yourself more by pushing your body. In training and in the gym, when you stress your body, your mind adapts.

Stress Improves Learning

When bodies are stressed, it speeds up learning. More so, the acute stress put on bodies of animals gives off a sheer mental boost for learning. A study concluded at the National Institute for Mental Health put males in two groups. One group of males was subjected to stress such as ice cold water dunking. The result is that the more humans are stressed, the faster they learn cognitive tasks.

BJJ Relation: So whenever we are stressed out in real life, we become better in BJJ through our subconscious need to take away the stress by learning how to adapt to it.

Stress Helps You Become Instinctive

Increased cortisol levels can make you more instinctive. Instinct or innate behavior is defined as the inherent inclination of a living organism towards a particular complex behavior. The simplest example of an instinctive behavior is a fixed action pattern, in which a very short to medium length sequence of actions, without variation, are carried out in response to a clearly defined stimulus.

BJJ Relation: Stressing out before a fight, or during a fight can bring that aggressive instinct out of us. Where fighters seem to at some point throw caution into the wind and rely on pure gut feeling and response. There are some BJJ fighters that have been known to simply blank out during fight. Some do not remember the fight even. They credit this phenomenon to what they call reflex and instinct.

Stress Improves Memory

Have you ever done a drill that you really didn’t like? Yes. Stressed out students at New Mexico State University improved their memory on remembering distinct differences when put in a stressful situation. Students, after a stressful situation, did better on working-memory tests. There is an significant increase in the neurotransmitter glutamine which is credited with increasing memory. Although this can be short-term memory, an improvement on memory (again) creates new neural pathways which lead to improved performance

BJJ Relation: a little bit of stress can improve how you are as a BJJ artists. There are hundreds (or possibly thousands) of variations of moves, techniques that you need to acquire and keep in your arsenal to be good in BJJ. What lies in your arsenal and how you remember it can help you succeed in the long run.

Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone!