• Jess D

5 Reasons Why Why YOU Should Do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu [Plus: BONUS reason]

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

Every person has their reasoning for picking up some kind of martial art. Maybe they grew up watching kung-fu movies and wanted to be Bruce Lee. Maybe their parents put them into Tae Kwon Do at a young age and they stuck with it for life. Martial arts have a way of finding its way into someone’s life when its need the most.

For me, back in 2012, I felt an all-time low in my self-esteem. I felt that I was being stomped all over by my job and kicked around mentally by other aspects of my life. I felt that I needed to fight back against life and I wanted to do that by doing MMA.

I talked to a friend, who suggested that I start with jiu-jitsu, to grasp some of the harder aspects of grappling before striking

Although, I haven’t exactly started by MMA career (besides one amateur boxing match…which I lost. More on that in a later post), almost 7 years later, I haven’t turned back since and am enjoying the journey I’m on!

Me before and after starting jiu-jitsu

So, here are 5 reasons why I and why you should do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

1) A sport for the little guy:

Jiu-jitsu works for every body type, every size, men, women, children, even dogs . Although of course strength and speed are factors that people use during competitions and sport jiu-jitsu, many of the moves and positions use leverage to successfully do the move. Although I am quite strong, it makes me feel strong against men who are bigger and stronger than me.

2) Fitness:

Between the warm-ups, fast drills, rolling, and me coming into class late and having to do punishment exercises every time (which happens for me most mornings or at night if I don’t leave work right on time), jiu-jitsu keeps me pretty fit. Also, jiu-jitsu incorporates different aspects of fitness like strength, flexibility, and cardio. It also tests my mental fitness in learning to be calmed and focus.

3) Family-like atmosphere/Welcoming:

Most of the jiu-jitsu gyms I’ve been to make sure you feel like the gym is your second home. When it comes to jiu-jitsu, it is a collective effort for everyone to improve. Everyone wants to help you with a move, and if you have a question, the coaches are always willing to take time to help you understand. When it comes to going out after the gym, you always have someone who up for eating, having a drink, or just talking. This is especially important in Shanghai, where it can be hard to make friends with so many people leaving and arriving to Shanghai.

4) Challenging (patience, physical, ego):

Life always has its challenges. Jiu-jitsu always has it its challenges. Therefore, Jiu-jitsu = Life.

But it all seriousness, I like that it challenges me in many different aspects beyond physically. When I’m trying to go for a move or escape from a position when I’m trapped, it teaches me patience to actually get to my goal. It challenges me not to show my feelings and my frustrations during a roll. There are certain things that I have huge ego about my jiu-jitsu, and jiu-jitsu has a way of challenging your ego and humbling you real quick.

For example, since I’ve mostly rolled with men, I always thought I can dominate women in competition. I was humble in an open weight match back 2017, when I got arm-bared by a girl who was 56 kilos (123 pounds for my American peeps) when I was around 80 kilos (180 pounds). That really helped to change my mindset about how to approach all my opponents.

5) Confidence:

Everyone says that doing any kind of martial art makes you feel more confident in yourself. Every time I walk down the street, especially in New York City or somewhere I’m unfamiliar, I don’t feel as scared because I know I can defend myself when I need to. It makes me feel that I can do really anything I set my mind to.

And, yes in the super corny way you probably read that.

6) BONUS: It’s like aggressive hugging/cuddles! Who doesn’t like hugging and cuddles?

Doing jiu-jitsu has put on a physical and grueling road, that tries me every day or the days I train (sometimes I’m not only my "train everyday vibes" and that’s okay too). But, because of the reasons I listed it’s something that I will stick with for life. If you were looking for a reason to try, or you weren’t sure what jiu-jitsu can do for you, I hope this list helps!

For those of you who found jiu-jitsu, what are some reasons you think people should do jiu-jitsu?