For those of you know don’t know what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is, here it is in a nutshell. It is a grappling martial art, meaning the focus is on controlling your opponent on the ground. BJJ is similar to wrestling, but the crucial difference is that instead of the endgame being to pin your opponent’s shoulders to the ground, Jiu Jitsu practitioners master submissions that would incapacitate an opponent, including chokes, arm bars, and leg locks.
If you’re like the majority of the world that has never tried Jiu Jitsu, you need to. Today. It will change your life (cheesy, but true) and here are seven reasons why.
1) A valuable skill that requires strenuous exercise.
Let’s start with the obvious. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a sport, and it requires a level of physical strength, stamina, and dexterity you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Unique in the martial arts world, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sparring practice is trained without holding back, except there is no striking in Jiu Jitsu. You use your full range of motion and strength, making for the toughest workout you’ve probably ever had in your life.
Instead of going to the gym with the sole purpose of building strength and stamina, build strength and stamina naturally through learning a martial art that you’ll most likely want to do for the rest of your life.
2) Find community anywhere in the world.
There is an odd-yet-awesome sense of community amongst BJJ practitioners. When you travel anywhere in the world there is a strong sense of camaraderie. As a member of Alliance, the most successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team in the world, joining the Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Charlotte, NC will instantly give you access to a worldwide network of teammates. These people are literally thrilled to have you visit their gyms, and will treat you like an honored guest whether you train there during an overnight business trip or an extended vacation.
3) Effective self defense (especially against bigger opponents).
Almost all real-life fights, like muggings and sexual assaults, end on the ground. The shocking reality is that if you take away a person’s ability to kick and punch by pinning them to the ground, most people panic and flail totally ineffectively. Because of this, when martial art practitioners who specialize in striking face an expert Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, they usually lose the fight the moment it goes to the floor.
Skill – not size – is the major deciding factor in BJJ fights. Take a few minutes to watch a couple of classes tonight at the Lepri BJJ Academy (we are right nearby, in Matthews!). There, you can witness first-hand the reason why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is considered one of the most effective forms of self defense for both men and women.
4) Learn how to keep a level head under extreme stress.
In the BJJ world we have an adage about beginning practitioners: “The white belt is about learning to survive.” Learning to work through the panic of what your body perceives as very real danger is essential if you want to progress from a flailing newbie to a skilled fighter. In order to execute the appropriate sequence of responses you need to develop incredible stress-management skills.
These skills transfer to every aspect of your life. Students report that learning to problem-solve under stressful conditions enables them to make similarly smart and effective decisions in their everyday life, at home and at work.
5) Develop patience and surround yourself with patient people.
If you’re looking for the quick satisfaction our world has come to expect from martial arts – go to class, learn 5 forms, take a test, get your belt… you’re in the wrong place. In our modern era where it seems that instant gratification is the ultimate measure of excellence, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu provides something you can’t easily find anymore: arduous, challenging, and extremely meaningful measures of success.
It takes the average Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner ten years to get their black belt. Ten years of consistent training.
So get ready to work hard for your belts. There is no shortcut to your blue belt or beyond. Develop the skills. Put in the work. Improve your technique. That’s how you advance.
6) Gain a level of self-confidence most people never achieve.
There is a moment roughly 6-12 months into your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training when you walk through a crowd and suddenly realize: “Wow. Not a single person in this crowd can harm me.”
Of course that doesn’t mean that practicing BJJ means you should pick fights. But knowing that you are not in physical danger really does change the game. All of a sudden your macho, bullying boss at work seems a lot less threatening. As a woman, walking alone at night doesn’t make you feel helpless or vulnerable.
7) Get comfortable with losing. The fastest way to lose a harmful ego.
There is no place for an ego on the mats. There is no time from the day you step onto the mats to the next 50 years of your life where you will be certain of victory. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there will always be opponents who seem like they are pinning your flailing body down with apparently no effort. When you tap out for the third time in that five-minute sparring round, you’ll both share a smile, a good-natured slap of the hands, and go at it again.
It is a humbling experience without a doubt. In a gym led by famous athletes, like Lucas Lepri’s gym in Charlotte, you’ll get more than your typical share of people who will consistently have stronger techniques than you. Be thankful. Learning to lose may be one of the most important lessons you learn – not just on the mats, but in your life. It is okay to realize that you still have more to learn.
Time to train.
No one puts it better than author and podcaster Tim Ferriss: “You are the average of the five people you most associate with.” At the Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Fitness gym, you will find the highest caliber of athletes as well as the most welcoming community. Surround yourself with excellence, with worthy opponents, with champions…and you will inevitably become those things too.
So, if you in the Matthews or Ballantyne area, get in your car and come visit us at the Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy! Today is the perfect day to start your Jiu Jitsu journey.