Having grown up in the UK, I was never really exposed to grappling combat sports/martial arts until meeting my American friends later on in life. Popular combat sports in the UK are mainly boxing, karate and those similar to that such as kickboxing and muay thai. We never really had, or were ever encouraged to take up grappling sports such as wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ), which are extremely popular even at school level in the US. So when I was first introduced to BJJ, I was not really interested. Actually I was pretty dismissive. The last thing that seemed appealing to me was rolling around on the mats with other sweaty guys, but after giving it a try, I was addicted. Here are 5 reasons that got me hooked and why you should also give it a shot.
1) It’s a great full-body workout
Forget focusing on individual parts of the body; a simple BJJ session will work out every part of your body as well as your mind. Although it is a very physical sport, the beautiful thing about it is that strength and power are not so much a deciding factor compared to other combat sports. Technique is considered much more important and using leverage over strength is ideal. You will definitely find yourself sweating a lot especially if you are wearing a gi (kimono) so remember to keep yourself hydrated at all times.
2) It’s great self defence
As mentioned in the previous point, BJJ focuses more on technique and leverage than brute strength. In a usual defensive situation, the stronger person will often have the advantage, so knowing how to defend yourself even if you are lacking in these areas can be very useful. The rising popularity of BJJ especially amongst women is further proof of its effectiveness and draw.
3) It’ll take your mind off your worries
It may not be a cure, but it will certainly give you respite from your problems for the duration of the session. Leave all your physical and mental baggage at the gym door and give your 100% focus on the sport as soon as your step on the mat. If anything, the skills you learn from BJJ can be transferable into your day-to-day life and will help you learn to cope better in difficult situations.
4) You meet and bond with people from all walks of life
There is usually such diversity in a BJJ class with full-time athletes, housewives, students to salesmen selling room booking systems. This really shows that BJJ is open to anyone that wants to try. Classes are usually intergender so there are also less barriers to entry too. Spending hours each day grappling with other people will certainly develop your relationships with them.