Discovering the Unanticipated Benefits of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Journey
Written by Dervish Halil
White Belt with MNunes BJJ
Everyone will have their own personal reasons for embarking on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) journey. Common drivers include developing effective and realistic self-defence skills, improving self-confidence, stress relief and enhancing health and physical fitness. While these benefits will undoubtedly be achieved if you continue along the path in a dedicated manner, it doesn’t take long to discover that BJJ training also develops additional desirable personal character traits that may have never crossed your mind when you first considered committing to the journey. It is in the development of these traits and the benefits they can bring to not only your family life, but also to your career and other endeavours that the essence of BJJ and the art’s power resides. Early in the BJJ journey, you are exposed to conditions that will raise your awareness of and positively influence the following character traits.
1. Humility – a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness or lacking ego
2. Equanimity – mental calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation
3. Mindfulness – bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience
We are all generally guilty of having a degree of ego. However, ego is the enemy that will inhibit learning and derail progress to achieving higher states. On the BJJ mats you will shortly learn that egos have to be checked in at the door. Nobody cares what you do for a living, how much money you make or much weight you can lift. You are there to learn from your instructors and fellow students. When you get caught in a move, your ego will beg you not to tap out for fear of looking weak or being a quitter. However, tapping is sign of respect to your training partner who outfoxed you, gained the superior position and put you into a submission maneuver. Accept it, tap early, tap often and move on. Instead of being upset about your bruised ego, learn what you did wrong to enable your partner’s superior position and what can be done to avoid it in the future. Enhanced humility is an unavoidable product of BJJ training that helps to create an environment of continuous learning and the achievement of higher levels of knowledge. These skills are essential to adapting to the continuously changing work environment.
In life, we are continuously exposed to difficult situations. Things do not always go according to the game plan. One can complain about their unlucky circumstances and continue to suffer or accept the cards that have been dealt and arrive at the best outcome under the revised circumstances. It’s your choice. In BJJ training you are continuously exposed to new challenges. You attempt a move that worked the evening before, but this time your partner anticipates it, defends the move and puts you into a compromising situation. Having paid attention to the lesson from the previous week, you turn the tables on your partner only to learn that they also paid attention, reacted astutely and turned the tables back on you. This constant maneuvering and exchange of physical chess does not allow you time to feel sorry for yourself or complain about your bad luck. Instead you are forced to accept the circumstances and adapt immediately. While you may be blessed with periods of time when things are going smoothly, the reality is that curve balls and periods of suffering are inevitable. The equanimity taught from BJJ can help you to accept your situation and adapt in order to achieve the best possible outcome under difficult circumstances. I wish I had studied BJJ before my father had an accident and became paralyzed.
I just took a 2 minute break from writing this to check social media in order to ensure I didn’t miss a beat about the universe. Do you also find yourself continuously distracted? Do you constantly have trouble focusing on your immediate circumstances? You are not alone. However, don’t worry, BJJ offers a cure. When rolling with your partner during live sparring you have no choice but to be fully engaged with 100% of your focus turned to the situation at hand. A typical rolling session with a partner lasts for 5 minutes and during that time you are 100% focused on the task at hand. The dynamic exchange of moves, counters and counters to the counters forces you to zone in with impeccable attention. In a world where distractions are abundant, it is extremely refreshing to be able to pay your full, un-interrupted attention to the task at hand. BJJ will inevitably enhance your mindfulness.
Google and Facebook offer their employees on-site BJJ training to help promote physical fitness, stress-relief and camaraderie amongst team members. While these are obvious benefits, I would argue that enhancing humility, equanimity and mindfulness in team members are also key drivers of these world class organizations endorsing the BJJ journey. Wouldn’t every organization benefit if these character traits were enhanced within their teams? What are you waiting for?
The Fundamental BJJ Program at MNunes BJJ is the most complete and comprehensive in the Burlington area. You will follow a world class fundamental curriculum which Professor Marcio Nunes has spent years developing and is constantly improving based on feedback and the ever evolving sport of BJJ.
If you are interested in trying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu we offer a free week trial, just click here.