The Brazilian Jiujitsu community has enjoyed a massive following and a diverse ever-growing community due to the success it has enjoyed inside the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Statistically 90% of all fights end up on the ground. Because Brazilian Jiujitsu is the most comprehensive ground grappling system in the world, many argue that it is the most practical of all martial arts.
The martial arts world is notorious for being rife with wisdom about discipline and character. Brazilian Jiujitsu is no exception. However, Brazilian Jiujitsu’s practicality allows for the cultivation of certain wisdoms that is not often found in other martial arts or in other sports.
- Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Brazilian Jiujitsu is basically like Yoga except involuntary. You put into positions that are highly uncomfortable during training and you have to accept it in order to fight back effectively. More importantly, progression in Brazilian Jiujitsu can be very grueling at times. There will be many challenges that may be very uncomfortable including:
- Being a beginning white belt and getting beat by everyone
- The nervousness of competing in tournaments
- Choosing to practice your weaker techniques or techniques you do not like
- Accepting that you will lose to less experience training partners from time to time
- Being brave enough to pair up against training partners you have a difficult time grappling against
In any area of life, growth exists at the end of your comfort zone. In Brazilian Jiujitsu, you are reminded of that every single day when you have a heavy sweaty opponent smashed on top of your chest. You learn to deal with it. Off the mat, it is powerful. You really notice your friends that don’t have BJJ training have smaller comfort zones than you and are more hesitant to explore outside of it.
- Genuine Ego Mastery
All martial arts talk about ego mastery. However, we believe that controlling one’s ego is not something to be achieved but something to be worked on every single day of your life. In Brazilian Jiujitsu, you don’t have a choice but to keep your ego in check. You think you are too good to tap out to that smaller girl who has you in a shoulder lock? Well, you are taking a trip to the emergency room and a few months of injury time. Yet, even with this knowledge, sometimes we feel the ego rise and we must take steps to quell it. We don’t pretend that our egos do not exist but rather we work on it.
Because of this, many BJJ gyms are very laid back environments. The community aspect of elite BJJ gyms is truly a social engineering marvel. People from various backgrounds –rich and poor, blue collar and white collar- all train and socialize with each other in a very down to earth manner; powerful bonds form. We did not achieve this by holding hands in friendship circles and singing around campfires. We got there by beating each other up until we are all comfortable with other, thereby eliminating any reason to be insecure or judgmental in regards to one another.
- Balance of Hard and Gentle
Some say that Brazilian Jiujitsu is like wrestling while playing chess and doing yoga at the same time. It is a complicated intricate art that requires both immense burst of explosive energy and the gentleness of subtle techniques. Too rigid and you get swept. Too loose and you get blasted by. Brazilian Jiujitsu players must always be negotiating the balance between relaxation and action.
This balance translates into life because rarely is there only way variable to the path of success. In life, we must balance working hard with getting enough rest. We must decide whether some effort is worth fighting harder for or letting go. We must negotiate between hard and soft communication methods in our social interactions.
- Aptitude For What Works and What Does Not
The thing about Jiujitsu is that it works. You have confidence that your art works in a real fight because it has been proven time and time again through the scientific method that is cage fighting. When you train something you know that works, you don’t have any patience for stuff that does not work.
Whenever you are presented a new product, or a business opportunity, or a work out routine, your first question is usually “does it work?” Brazilian Jiujitsu players, by facing the raw reality of submission grappling every single day, have developed a bigger sense of BS-detector for all aspects of life.
- Self-Initiative for Evolution
Unlike football or karate, BJJ instructors generally cannot have a my-way-or-the-high-way approach to teaching. They cannot because competitive Brazilian Jiujitsu is a new sport with endless variables. There is no katas or plays to memorize because every fight is different.
Competitive BJJ resembles the high-tech industry because new techniques are invented every single year. Proven fundamentals often have to be adjusted every other year because of all the new innovations. BJJ athletes must take initiative to adapting to the sport, discovering what works for them, and evolving their own game. This is a very important skill set to have in life because many aspects of life are in constant motion. The demands of the job market and dating norms change frequently. Taking initiative to evolve is an essential skill to stay ahead in life.