It’s officially spring, and if you stumbled a bit on those fitness-related New Year’s resolutions, you may be thinking about starting fresh. We love that idea, but before you re-up at the gym or start researching local 10ks, take a few minutes to think about something different. Here are three reasons pretty much everyone should start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
It’s a Killer Workout
Grappling is high-intensity interval training by any other name. Classes usually begin with a fairly intense warm-up – running laps, burpees, push ups, core work, dynamic stretching. Then there’s often a technique demonstration and drilling, before you spend the majority of the class rolling. And here’s the thing – as a beginner, people tend to use force and grit to make up for inexperience in technique and ability. That won’t get you very far, but it does mean a serious workout! As you become more proficient, you’re moving faster and more efficiently, and you’re still benefiting from all those rounds of max exertion with brief periods of rest.
One of the greatest parts of BJJ is the constant, steady barrage of new knowledge. That’s hard to find at the gym, where you may see improvement as you get stronger. But what are you learning from your hundredth set on the squat rack?
BJJ is one of those practical martial arts that teaches you self-defense skills, while also improving things like flexibility, coordination, balance. Every class is an opportunity to learn and refine new techniques, with the end result of becoming a more-rounded practitioner.
Size Really Doesn’t Matter
Women and children can find the same benefits in BJJ as the two-hundred pound men do, because the focus is entirely on technique. BJJ recognizes that most fights end up on the ground, so objective number one is taking down your opponent. Height matters much less when you’re both on the ground, and things like sweeps, submissions and escapes are based on technique and leverage – not brute strength. Lightweight practitioners can be just as effective as heavyweights, and that creates a really important middle ground for anyone.
So Is BJJ Right for You?
There’s really only one to know. But before you jump into the first free class you can find, spend a little time researching your options. Tour the school, meet the instructors, sit in on a class, and find a school with the kind of dynamics that appeal to you. And once you start, give it time. Anything new is bound to be challenging, and that’s especially true with something like BJJ. Invest the time to get through the part where you’re constantly confused, and you may find that BJJ becomes something you just can’t leave without. Hey, it happened for us.