One of the most popular sports in the world, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu owes its origins both to the Japanese version of the martial art and judo, creating a contemporary sport in which ground fighting and grappling are key skills. Known as ‘the gentle art’ because stronger, larger opponents can be controlled by smaller competitors, BJJ focuses on using a variety of techniques to force rivals to submit, such as locks, holds and chokes – making it a highly effective form of self-defense. Essentially, the age, build and gender of the opponent doesn’t matter because successful defensive techniques give any competitor the ability to overcome them with professional training and commitment.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not simply a martial art, however, and its popularity has soared as its health, fitness and life benefits have been recognized. Consequently, training classes are widespread with thousands of athletes learning and honing their techniques in the martial arts – and the benefits extend beyond equipping them with vital self-defenses skills. From rapid weight loss to improving self-confidence, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has the potential to make significant differences to your life.
Rapid weight loss
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes feature a variety of exercises, drills, techniques and sparring, all of which combine to create an enjoyable and highly effective whole-body workout. As a result, stories of participants shedding copious amounts of weight abound, and with good reason: many people have achieved their weight loss goals through involvement in BJJ, as well as enjoying a trimmed and toned body.
It’s important to remember that it was not conceived as a way of losing weight, nor is weight loss a goal of classes. Instead, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training aims to be an engaging, fun and challenging martial art that, by putting athletes through their paces, has the potential to dramatically improve their physical health and appearance. Weight loss is a familiar effect of the intensive physical routines to which BJJ exposes competitors, although it is worth remembering that classes are led by qualified and experienced instructors who will support participants to develop the skills and techniques in a managed and realistic way. Don’t be too concerned that you’ll be expected to reach expert level in no time at all!
When joining a BJJ class, expect to be involved in repetitive drilling and practice of key skills and techniques which will be physically demanding; however, there are no preconceptions about how fit a participant should be when joining a class, so classes are open to newcomers irrespective of their weight, size or age.
Improved physical health with London Fight Factory
Losing excess pounds and achieving an optimal weight is a key step towards achieving overall physical health and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can certainly make a significant contribution to competitors in this area of their lives. However, as one of the martial arts, it can help to improve overall health in many other ways, many of which are less obvious to the eye but just as important as rapid weight loss.
For example, BJJ can help to strengthen the heart and improve circulation, cutting levels of bad cholesterol and decreasing blood pressure. It can regulate levels of insulin, thereby reducing the likelihood of type-2 diabetes in later life. Lung capacity and respiration can be improved by the rolling movements of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, with some asthma sufferers reporting a lessening of their symptoms. The health benefits are extensive and, with better health, comes longevity with fewer life-changing complications.
A positive life outlook
While our physical health is often our priority, our mental health also needs to be in prime condition if we are to enjoy satisfying and rewarding lives. BJJ can have a major impact on wellbeing and outlook, increasing self-confidence and boosting positivity, as well as providing a major stress release when necessary.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes help to develop growth mindset among competitors, by setting challenging goals, supporting individuals as they acquire and improve new skills and, ironically, teaching participants that failure is as much part of achievement as success. Learning opportunities abound to help people to improve their performance; all of this promotes a sense of achievement and boosts self-confidence, determination and ambition.
On a physical level, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fitness training stimulates the natural release of endorphins, the so-called ‘feelgood’ hormones that improve mood and induce calmness. Balancing hormones in the body can also resolve aspects of physical health such as low libido and the digestive disorders caused by a sluggish metabolism.
Improvements that can impact on our daily lives
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes, you’ll be taught a range of movements and techniques that utilise every part of the body to control an opponent and force them to submit. Constant practice of rolling, transitioning, shrimping, bridging, gripping and guard passing mean that you’ll be far more aware of your every move, your position and the space around you.
In doing so, it’s likely that your spatial awareness and ability to focus will be improved and, as these are everyday skills that most people use in different aspects of their lives, the BJJ training will impact positively on your whole life.
Greater coordination is the result of a sharper focus on using the arms and legs together as one unit, which sharply contrasts with the daily tasks of many people, such as sitting for long periods in the office at work, that erode coordination and synchronised movements. BJJ competitors frequently showcase better coordination, speed, focus and mobility in many areas of their day-to-day lives, meaning they can work more efficiently in their jobs or participate in other sports with greater control.
A key to unlock our life’s potential
At the very least, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – like many of the martial arts – can be an effective, enjoyable and energising way to build overall body fitness. However, BJJ classes can have a significant and positive impact on many areas of a participant’s life. From weight loss to improved self-confidence and stable mental health to more accurate coordination and spatial awareness, the wide-ranging benefits of BJJ can spill into many areas of living.