The Secret to Every Victory is Hidden in BJJ

  • Falling is part of the path of life, but success lies in knowing how to get up.
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) can help yourself from the problems and make your life better.
  • BJJ not only helped me learn how to defend myself but also to be confident and help others.

Nobody is exempt from problems. Falling is part of the path of life, but success lies in knowing how to get up. For that, many times we need someone to reach out to us when we really have reached the bottom. Through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, people, who have immersed in social conflicts of various kinds, can find a way to defend themselves from the problems and make their lives better.

Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that promotes the concept that a small, lightweight individual can successfully defend himself against a bigger and stronger opponent through the effective use of techniques, taking the confrontation to the ground and applying submissions to subdue him.

The art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has been developed with the idea that it is possible to surpass a stronger opponent by focusing on techniques and leverage against strength. Also known as “Arte Suave” (literally meaning “soft art” in reference to the flexibility and technique used instead of strength), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can bring many benefits to physical health and mental well-being. Even with women, this martial art is becoming increasingly popular.

The goal in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to fight as economically as possible. All techniques that depend on strength and speed are avoided because they are inappropriate in a fight against a stronger opponent. That’s why BJJ is also known as “chess on the mat.”

Above all, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is fighting on the ground

The secret to the success of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Submission Grappling) is the leverage techniques, and it works best when both fighters are already on the ground. In many martial arts, the fight is decided when a fighter has fallen to the ground. In the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the fight really starts at that point as, on the ground, the fighter can really develop his abilities.

Therefore, the first goal of a BJJ fighter is to bring the opponent down as fast as possible. For this, techniques from judo and wrestling are used. Enemies are even jumped on, or the BJJ fighter sits down on the ground and pulls his opponent’s legs away. With leverage and strangulation techniques the opponent is brought under control.

Mental Benefits of Practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is beneficial for the mind. Here are some of the benefits which a person receives from the art:

1. Security: Knowing self-defense movements, a person is less afraid of possible attacks that may happen, for example, on the street. He also gains self-esteem.

2. Mental strength: Like many sports or martial arts that come from Eastern countries, it requires a great concentration and patience to perform each movement, which will increase your mental strength.

3. Discipline: The practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires discipline to achieve sporting goals, so it will also help you to have more discipline in your daily life, both personal and professional.

4. Respect: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu takes you into a series of values ​​such as respect for the other person, responsibility, humility, and companionship. If you already had them, they will be enhanced.

5. Eliminate stress: The combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, which are a part of Jiu-Jitsu, help eliminate tension and, therefore, will also help reduce the level of stress and anxiety.

Physical benefits of practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The other part that works with the practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a human’s body. In reality, the body and mind go hand in hand, benefiting from each other at the same time. In the case of the physical part, practicing Jiu-Jitsu has a series of benefits derived from cardiovascular exercises that are performed during training, as well as through stretching. All this translates into the following physical benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

1. Losing weight: Jiu-Jitsu is one of the best practices to lose weight and burning fat because, during your practice, aerobic and anaerobic exercises are combined which causes you to burn fat but without losing muscle. You will notice that the body is more defined.

2. Gaining more strength: Having to perform defense movements, resistance work and having to face another person, you will gain in physical strength progressively.

3. Flexibility: It is another benefit of Jiu-Jitsu resulting from different movements that you have to perform. Although, at first, you are not very flexible. However, with the passage of time and, as progress is made in training, it is achieved.

4. Cardiovascular capacity: As we mentioned before when talking about weight loss, during Jiu-Jitsu, you also do aerobic exercise, which results in this improvement of cardiovascular capacity and a greater strengthening of the heart. In addition, it helps to reduce cholesterol, to burn fat, and promote blood circulation.

5. Improvement of the physical condition: For all the benefits previously commented, what is achieved with Jiu-Jitsu is, in general, a better condition or physical form.

Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu good for children?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is beneficial for children, like most martial arts. There are professionals who recommend it for all those minors who suffer bullying in order that they can learn to defend themselves and increase their self-esteem. But apart from self-defense, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for children has another set of benefits:

1. Motricity: Helps develop your motor skills.

2. Stimulation: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stimulates children’s minds by having to look for the techniques and strategies they consider most suitable to face their rival and learn something new.

3. Confidence and security: This martial art, as happens with adults, also makes children feel more secure and have more confidence in themselves to face challenges and situations.

Benefits for Women

The spiritual and mental strength provided by the BJJ gives women, who practice it, great security and self-esteem. The BJJ can become a tool of prevention against domestic violence, as well as a method of self-defense against any type of aggression they may suffer.

Jiu Jitsu as therapy

Jiu-Jitsu, as a therapy, has spread in the area of support for children with Down Syndrome. When the practice of Jiu-Jitsu is used to restore people’s health, it is necessary to research new methods that help to achieve this goal. Due to the scarcity of flexibility within the system, this is difficult.

How does Jiu-Jitsu influence the psychological part?

The influence of the Jiu-Jitsu psychologically is that it tries to become a skill of order that is infused in the skills used during the defensive moments in daily life as a means of shelter during an attack.

The continuous use of Jiu-Jitsu develops bonding patterns that are suitable for the beginning of premature neuro-sensory stimulation. This stimulus carries out patterns of neural pathways that open the way to empathy, love, and the belief in humanity.

Young people drawn to the training program sometimes are having social problems, are impetuous, have increasing verbal and physical aggressive patterns, do not possess social norms, and some have even gone through traumatic experiences of abuse, both physical, sexual, and even verbal. The continuous contact exercised in this sport stimulates the freedom of neurotransmitters in their brains as well as the hormones that are found throughout their body, which makes them more aware of their surroundings and connects them internally.

The exercises and techniques promoted by BJJ cause the body and mind to unite and react to each other, activating all their senses and instincts, not only to flee or stay to fight, but also to be totally alert of any situation.

Due to the stress situation that is acquired, thanks to the possibility of being prone to a situation full of problems, the brain automatically activates the use of basic patterns of survival mode that tell the mind how to avoid the said situation. In such situations, the brain recognizes the means of survival and forces the individual to be oriented with great intensity to immediate experiences.

In this way, the patient-student recognizes each of the traumatic experiences in which he may have been involved and restores his skills to combat in new patterns; learns to fight against a stress situation, to dominate it, and to realize that it does not need to reach a maximum point of damage before the fight.

One of the best lessons in the practice of Jiu-Jitsu is the realization that you have the capability of surviving or even defending yourself from an attack by an opponent superior to you, both in size and strength. Thanks to the face, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also an experience of healing for people who usually get involved in situations of distress.

In addition, they may also experience a certain discomfort or vulnerability at the beginning, but as time goes on, they will be able to form an experience of safety, development, or confidence towards themselves by changing the position of vulnerability with a new experience in which they defend themselves.

With the above, it can be understood that the use of Jiu Jitsu as therapy can be transformed into an instrument with the use of psychological re-engineering, which provides students with a platform for their personal development.

What is BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a tremendously effective fighting style, based on the use of force technique and leverage, with the purpose that a person of the weak constitution can beat another of greater strength. This has been demonstrated for decades without rules in Brazil, in which Helio Gracie, the creator of the style, fought against the masters of Capoeira, Judo, wrestling, boxing, etc., and has been modifying Japanese Jiu-Jitsu to create a completely different style, more focused on the real fight.

The origin and development of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is actually a specialized judo style. At the beginning of the 20th century, brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie learned Japanese martial arts, Kodokan Judo, in Brazil.

The Japanese Jigoro Kano had developed a new martial art, which had its origins in Jiu-Jitsu, the unarmed self-defense of the samurai. Jigoro Kano called his new school: Kodokan. First, the new martial art was also referred to as “Kano Jiu-Jitsu.” Later, they called the new martial art “Judo.”

Helio Gracie was small and slender and had problems to prevail in the fights. His opponents were able to take advantage of their physical superiority far too well. Helio Gracie began to develop techniques where physical superiority did not matter much. The techniques he developed proved so effective that they soon became his own style. Hence, “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu” a.k.a. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was born.

Its Impact on My Life:

Learning BJJ changed my life as a human being. I learned multiple principles and rules to lead a happy and satisfied life. I would like to give all the credit for my successful life to Professor Rodrigo Vaghi, a 5th-Degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and one of the pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the United States, who changed thousands of lives by teaching us the techniques and principles of BJJ. His lineage goes back to Rickson and Helio Gracie, who in turn learned from Koma Maeda which proves his purity and authenticity in martial arts.

BJJ not only helped me learn how to defend myself but also to be confident and help others to the point that I am seeking to help other BJJ practitioners overseas to chase their dreams and have their own BJJ academy.

Considering the need for BJJ to be learned and practiced all over the world, it is already growing in Central America. It is changing people’s lives. However, the problem is the scarcity of the practitioners. Considering the scarcity, Developing Our World came across Rodrigo “Bixão” Santos, a black belt, second degree in Managua, Nicaragua and Roberto “Crippler” Cáceres, a purple belt in Guatemala City, Guatemala. They are already teaching children, adults, and elderlies, but due to limited funds, they are not able to grow.

Developing Our World is aiming to collect enough funds to increase their capacity and open a BJJ academy in order to let everyone taste the benefits of BJJ. If any of you can help us in achieving this aim, contact us.

Miguel Torneire

Bachelor of Divinity, Bachelor of Theology, and Master of Arts in Outreach, is the founder and the Executive Director of Developing Our World, an organization that seeks to put holistic community development into action. He loves Jesus! And, he is a husband, a father, a Pastor, a Missionary, an Author, a flamenguista (a supporter of Clube de Regatas do Flamengo soccer team), and a BJJ practitioner. 


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