10 Mental Benefits From Training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
If you think Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) will ONLY give you more confidence, physical fitness, and self-defense skills, think twice.
There is one thing that people overlook about jiu-jitsu training, which is the mental benefits.
The physical benefits of training Jiu-Jitsu are great, and they can definitely change anyone’s life, but the mental benefits gained by training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu are far greater, and here is why.
If we could choose, we all would want to function to the best of our mental abilities, right? That would improve our day-to-day life, also our work, and everything else.
What most people don’t know is that we can improve our mental skills through continuous use of them.
These skills are tools for our minds, and building them up provides us with a strong foundation for achieving our highest potential.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training helps us build up several of our mental skills. Here is a list of some of them.
- Emotion Management
- Perceptual speed
- Decision Making
- Mental Strenght
In Jiu-Jitsu classes, we learn many martial art techniques to use when we need them. But for our techniques to be effective, we have to repeat them until we fully memorize them.
Also, each Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique is full of micro-steps and small details. The more the students memorize those steps, the more they will use them successfully, making memorization a big part of getting better at BJJ.
Reasoning is the ability of the mind to think and understand things in a logical way to form a conclusion or judgment.
Jiu-Jitsu is very logical. Some people even compare it to playing chess. When training Jiu-Jitsu against someone else, we have to create strategies on the go based on our quick assessment of the situation and usually under pressure.
We always have to find the most logical solution to our present circumstances, and we do this by developing our reasoning.
The element that represents jiu-jitsu is water. Water is adaptable. If we put it into a glass, it takes the form of the glass. For a person to master Jiu-jitsu they have to be adaptable too.
In Jiu-Jitsu, it’s impossible to use exactly the same strategy to win every match. Many times you will face a much bigger, or much faster, or much stronger opponent that will force you to adjust your game and emotions to the new challenge this person represents.
One of the major Jiu-Jitsu principles is Timing. All techniques work best when they are executed at the perfect time. If you do it too soon, the opportunity might not be fully there yet, and if you take too much time, the opportunity goes away.
So, Jiu-Jitsu practitioners need to learn how to be patient to find the perfect moment to apply their techniques effectively.
The good news is that patience is an attitude and it can be developed when we understand how important it is to our Jiu-Jitsu.
Emotion management is the ability to be aware of and constructively handle both positive and challenging emotions.
When we are in a Jiu-jitsu match, we’ll experience all kinds of emotions like fear, confidence, happiness, sadness, excitement, confusion, clarity, etc. And one of our main objectives is to keep all those emotions in check.
It’s not easy at first, but with continuous practice and great coaching, we can get there.
Perceptual speed is the ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of objects, pictures, or patterns. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
In Jiu-Jitsu, we have to be able to quickly compare our partner’s body position to a similar body position we have seen before to decide what to do in that situation.
Our minds will be always looking for similarities and differences while training. That is how we know when to use the techniques we have in our “toolbox.”
The more experience we get in Jiu-Jitsu through continuous practice, the better we will use our perceptual speed.
When training with someone else in Jiu-Jitsu, we have to make many decisions every minute, like what we are going to do next, and next, and next.
The decision can be even to stay still for a few seconds. Regardless, we have to decide something or we will lose quickly.
Making decisions is a habit, and like any habit can be improved through repetition.
Most people are always trying to avoid distressful situations in their lives, so, when they face one, they are usually not mentally prepared for them.
When we train Jiu-Jitsu, we experience many undesired situations in every single training session.
We might be in a chokehold while deciding if we’re going to give up or try to escape, and how we are going to escape.
So, to succeed in Jiu-Jitsu, we need to develop the ability to adjust to these situations and recover mentally from them. We’ll have to learn to be resilient.
In martial arts, we have to be present, which means we cannot be thinking about anything else but what is going on at that moment.
We have no control over what our opponents will do. We can anticipate their actions based on some obvious moves and personal experience, but we still have to be fully connected to our present situation to be able to properly choose what to do next.
That takes 100% concentration. A Distracted mind will give our opponents a momentary advantage that can be crucial in the outcome of the fight.
Mental Strength is the capacity that an individual has to deal effectively with the stressors, challenges, and pressure to present their best performance despite their circumstances.
People who are mentally strong deal with their circumstances and keep a positive attitude. Although the situation might be challenging.
That defines what a BJJ practitioner has to do in every training session to succeed.
Acquiring mental strength when you don’t have it already is a process and takes time and great coaching, but it has to be acquired if we want to be successful at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
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