12 Benefits Of Jiu-Jitsu: Life-Changing Reasons For Starting BJJ

By Tsavo NealLearning BJJ6 Comments

benefits of jiu-jitsu

What are the benefits of jiu-jitsu?

Like Jocko Willink said, “jiu-jitsu is a superpower.”

Or, like Joe Rogan said, “jiu-jitsu is like medicine for your brain.”

There’s a reason entrepreneurs, celebrities, actors, and other notable celebrities are starting BJJ: Mark Zuckerberg, Tom Hardy, Mario Lopez, and many more.

The bottom line is this: starting jiu-jitsu will make you healthier, happier, stronger, smarter, attractive, confident, and social.

In this article, I break down 12 proven benefits of jiu-jitsu backed by scientific research in hopes that you’ll take your first jiu-jitsu class.

I’ll also include my own personal experience: the benefits I’ve received from training and teaching jiu-jitsu — as well as stories from others.

“You’ll be in the best physical shape of your life. You’ll be in the best mental shape of your life. Your confidence will sky rocket, you will make new friends. You will learn about your body and push it further than you thought possible. You’ll learn the real meaning of dedication, self discipline, and respect. You’ll become more flexible, you’ll relieve stress, your focus will increase. You’ll learn the true meaning of humility, patience, and life.” –u/tcostuh 

Let’s dive in.


  1. You’ll Have A Ton Of Fun (& Feel Like A Kid Again)
  2. You’ll Be Healthier & Happier
  3. You’ll Feel Less Anxiety & Depression
  4. You’ll Make Friends For Life
  5. You’ll Get (& Stay) In Amazing Physical Shape
  6. You’ll Learn How To Defend Yourself & Others
  7. You’ll Become More Confident & Attractive
  8. You’ll Become More Humble (& A Better Human Being)
  9. You’ll Get Into Constant Flow States
  10. You’ll Become Smarter (& Learn How To Learn)
  11. You’ll Pursue Mastery & Find Meaning
  12. You’ll Get Your Rite Of Passage & Appreciate Spirituality

1. You’ll Have A Ton Of Fun (& Feel Like A Kid Again)

Do you remember when you were a kid, and how much fun it was to wrestle your parents and friends?

When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was play-wrestle with my dad. We called it “the big hit”: my siblings and I would run towards him, and then he would lift us up and (softly) slam us onto a cushion. We could do this for hours.

But why was this so engaging?

Children need this type of play.

Rough and tumble play, in particular, is incredibly important the social, emotional, and physical development of children.

As adults, many of us stop playing despite the need to play.

This study proposes the idea martial arts like jiu-jitsu help adults incorporate rough and tumble play into their lives again.

Jiu-jitsu gives you a reason to play-wrestle again, which is fun no matter your age — but it is also technical, practical, and intellectually rewarding.

Going to a normal gym and lifting weights, although beneficial, is not fun.

But training jiu-jitsu is a blast. You’re with your friends, wrestling around on the mats, learning, exercising, and playing — despite the fact that you’re an adult.

“I honestly think that combat is in our DNA, and that we have a primal urge for conflict and competition. BJJ gives you that + an outlet for your aggression. Remember wrestling around with your siblings/cousins/friends as a kid. Adults still have that need for contact and conflict, especially in a safe place, it just becomes socially unacceptable to state it most of the time once you’re of age. A lot of human socialization runs counter to our nature. I digress. BJJ, for me, is like playing Halo with my buddies and coming away with real combat skills and improved fitness. It hits all the buttons video games do, and has enormous real world benefits. This is what fuels my passion for it.”u/Diablo165

If you just want to have more fun and play in your life, then try your first jiu-jitsu class.

Even if it’s for a few moments, you’ll feel like a kid again: playing, wrestling, and being completely in the moment.

2. You’ll Be Healthier & Happier

I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like to be a little healthier and a little happier.

Jiu-jitsu has made me as healthy and as happy as I’ve ever been.

I’m 30 years old now, and I’m in the best shape of my life.

I’m not the most extroverted person, nor am I known to beam with joy.

But training jiu-jitsu has given me a strong sense of contentment. I have a feeling of quiet happiness and satisfaction that permeates into my daily life.

Other BJJ players feel the same way:

“I realized today that I haven’t really felt sad or overwhelmed at all this past week, thanks to a newfound hunger to train BJJ. I know that’s not necessarily a good thing if I’m using it as a distraction, but I really think I needed to do this for myself. I bought a gi and a membership, and I’m proud af of my white belt. I’m planning out my monthly training schedules and logging notes after every class, and practically all I think about is going to the next one. It’s an absolute thrill to be in class soaking up knowledge, and it really gives me something to look forward to, and a good reason to better structure my life. I am confident that this will ultimately be a healthy avenue that I couldn’t have stayed away from forever anyway. Now, I just wish I’d started so much sooner.”u/radioclash86

This study demonstrates that training jiu-jitsu is associated with a higher quality of life.

Jiu-jitsu has everything you want in a hobby:

  • It’s physical;
  • It’s social;
  • It’s creative.

Combine these aspects together, and you have the perfect “third place:” an area where people can congregate and get together outside of their work or homes.

As Rebekah White writes, “your third place is where you relax in public, where you encounter familiar faces and make new acquaintances.”

Going from not having a third place to having a third place is enough to make a big difference in your quality of life.

But why else does training BJJ increase your quality of life?

I think the answer — outside of the “fun” aspect of it — is found in the following benefits.

3. You’ll Feel Less Anxiety & Depression

The mental health benefits of jiu-jitsu are profound.

Personally, I’ve rarely (if ever) struggled with anxiety and depression.

Sure, I can feel anxious or sad at times. But I’ve never felt the overwhelming despair that I’ve heard other people deal with.

For me, training jiu-jitsu keeps anxiety and depression at bay.

I have a training partner who, when he’s not training, has to take medication for his anxiety and depression.

But when he’s training, he no longer feels the need to take his medication.

This study, through a randomized trial of school-aged children in Abu-Dhabi, showed that students enrolled in a BJJ program had a significant improvement in their mental health.

Similarly, this study ran Male US active duty members and veterans through 40 BJJ sessions. The participants demonstrated improvements in their PTSD symptoms as well as decreased symptoms of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety, and decreased alcohol use.”

Finally, this study, through a 3-year immersive participant ethnography, showed that participants of jiu-jitsu embody a version of health aligned with the theory of “Salutogenesis:” the study of the origins of health and a focus on factors that support well-being instead of the factors that cause disease.

tom hardy in a ranked rash guard

Actor Tom Hardy practicing no-gi jiu-jitsu (Tom is a huge proponent of the mental health benefits of BJJ)

I’ve read many stories about BJJ players who struggled with anxiety and depression before they began training. But, once they started BJJ, they noticed that their harmful inner voice became much quieter (or went away completely):

“I used to sit in my car for half hour before class, while struggling to get the courage to go inside. The few times I left and went home, I felt even worse than the anxiety I felt getting out of my car and going into the gym. I learned that even though I didn’t want to do it, due to anxiety, once I worked out and trained, I felt better. Soon the anxiety wasn’t an issue. I mean I still got it, but I learned to use that energy to have a great training session. Nothing better than going as hard as you can for 45 minutes of sparring and the effect it has on your soul”u/things2seepeople2do

Jiu-jitsu also has a meditative effect.

For me, jiu-jitsu has replaced meditation. I get the same benefits of meditation (a quiet mind) without having to sit in my room silently for 30 minutes.

BJJ isn’t the sole solution to anxiety and depression. But there’s a great chance that training will help treat your anxiety and depression.

If you’re looking for mental health benefits, jiu-jitsu is one of the best hobbies.

4. You’ll Make Friends For Life

Young men are so isolated and lonely, it’s an epidemic.

In the UK, one in five men admitted to having no close friends. And one in three said they don’t have a “best friend.”

As for what’s causing loneliness among men, I don’t have the answer.

But I do know of a potential solution.

I’m not the most social or outgoing person. I’m an introvert who works alone on a computer all day, and I like it that way. I prefer working with things over people. I prefer having a smaller, tighter social circle.

When I joined jiu-jitsu, I didn’t expect it to be so easy to make friends.

Since I started training, I’ve made many friends at my gym. Friends of all ages and backgrounds.

BJJ vancouver infighting

Me and some of my training partners at Infighting in Vancouver, B.C.

From bright-eyed university students to high-profile corporate lawyers, everyone is equal on the mats.

Jiu-jitsu fosters friendships like no other. Especially among men.


Men bond better through vasopressin than oxytocin.

Vasopressin is a hormone that bonds people during times of stress. It’s released when you struggle and solve problems with someone.

And that’s exactly what jiu-jitsu is: stressful (but fun) problem-solving with your training partners.

After training with your training partners for months, you can’t help but feel close to them.

“I don’t feel like I need to elaborate on the plague of lonely single men in our day and age. It leads to awful mental health and an unnecessary loss of life. Jiu-jitsu gives me a group of friends from across backgrounds, no judgement, lots of smiles. It’s a space full of aggression and physicality, and no judgement. I can excel at something physical un-apologetically. Maybe I’m up my own ass, but all my training partners are my friends, and I feel better when I see them. It becomes another reason to train.”u/gingerzilla

Training jiu-jitsu with someone requires a lot of trust. You’re being extremely vulnerable, giving each other you’re limbs and necks to practice breaking and strangling. You’re competing with one another, challenging each other, and improving yourselves through the martial art.

All of this fosters strong bonds and powerful friendships.

If you want to be more social and make more friends, forget about going to bars and approaching random people. Join a jiu-jitsu gym, and learn how to strangle people.

It will make you more friends than you think.

5. You’ll Get (& Stay) In Amazing Physical Shape

Training Brazilian jiu-jitsu will get you into the best physical shape of your life.

  • If you want to lose weight, start BJJ.
  • If you want to become more flexible, start BJJ.
  • If you want to improve your cardio, start BJJ.
  • If you want stronger muscles, start BJJ.

This study shows the physiological profile of jiu-jitsu athletes. They have low body fat, impressive aerobic power, and elite flexibility.

BJJ works every single muscle in your body, especially the most important ones: your core, your glutes, and your hips.

“I started at 345. I’m already down 25 lbs. When I started I couldn’t finish the warmup without gassing out. Now I can finish it. I feel more confident. I feel more alive. Don’t get me wrong, practices still rock my world and I feel every day of my forty years at the end. But I feel so great once I get it done. I got my first stripe and short of my kids, it’s pretty much my proudest day ever. I have a goal now, and I’m driving towards it. Is it hard? For sure. Is it rewarding? Heck yeah. You can start with zero stamina and get to where you want to be. Find a school that’s open and welcoming. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll be able to accomplish.”u/betafu

Jiu-jitsu has gotten me into the best physical shape of my life.

BJJ physique

My current physique from BJJ and lifting weights.

I train BJJ 4 times per week. On top of that, I lift weights 4 times per week.

Due to my training schedule, I have to be disciplined with my sleep, diet, and mobility.

It forces me to be the best, healthiest version of myself.

And the only motivation I need is to make sure that guys at my level (or below) don’t surpass me (this is Craig Jones’ primary motivation for training BJJ as well).

Don’t get me wrong: in jiu-jitsu, you can get injured.

Last year, I suffered a small fracture in my leg, right below my knee, from training jiu-jitsu.

But BJJ is so much fun that if you do get injured, you’ll be motivated to recover and get back on the mats.

I took my recovery seriously and was back on the mats in 6 weeks.

And my knee feels just as strong as it was before.

Looking and feeling better is one of the best reasons to start jiu-jitsu.

6. You’ll Learn How To Defend Yourself & Others

Growing up, I played basketball. I was an athletic kid.

After high school, I got into bodybuilding and powerlifting. Even though it was monotonous, I enjoyed the steady progression and how it made me feel.

But deep down I had this uncomfortable sense that I couldn’t defend myself. If I got into an altercation, I wouldn’t have a clue about what to do.

My athleticism or strength wouldn’t help me. And that didn’t sit right with me.

Several years ago, I remember listening to Joe Rogan and Jocko Willink talk about Brazilian jiu-jitsu on Rogan’s podcast.

They spoke about how “jiu-jitsu was a superpower.”

I knew at that point I had to try it.

Joining a boxing or kickboxing gym and learning how to punch and kick people (and, getting punched and kicked by people) didn’t appeal to me.

But learning how to take someone to the ground and put them into a position where I have total control?

Now that sounded fun.

Self-defense is one of the biggest reasons why people start jiu-jitsu. And it’s one of the most practical martial arts for self-defense.

If you train BJJ and you get into a self-defense situation against someone who doesn’t know BJJ, you have a massive advantage.

You’ll hear many stories about how jiujiteiros use their training in real-life scenarios, like this:

“I got into a self defense situation against an untrained guy. Easily got body lock take down to mount. Guy couldn’t move. Some of the moves that don’t work against trained people, actually work really well against untrained people.”u/Cncnchejrb

In a self-defense situation, the best thing to do is walk (or run) away. Or, avoid getting yourself into the situation at all.

But, if you do get grabbed, and you can’t get away, that’s when it’s time to use your jiu-jitsu training.

You’ll learn things like…

  • Breaking grips;
  • Escaping poor positions;
  • Takedowns & throws;
  • Standing up when you’re on the ground;
  • Incapacitating your opponent.

Unlike other martial arts, jiu-jitsu enables you to handle self-defense situations relatively peacefully. You can incapacitate your aggressor so that they can’t move until authorities show up. There are countless videos showing this:

Ironically, I’ve never gotten into a self-defense situation since starting BJJ.

It makes you so much more confident that people can sense you can handle yourself, and thus, you’re able to avoid most conflict.

But if I were to get into a self-defense situation, I know I could rely on my jiu-jitsu training.

It gives me a much greater advantage than if I didn’t train.

7. You’ll Become More Confident & Attractive

One of my favorite things about jiu-jitsu is observing how people change when they stick with it.

I remember one young guy who joined our gym. On his first day, he was shy, rather quiet, and awkward.

Six months of training later, he was a different person.

He walked into the gym with his head held high. He would talk to everyone he saw. And even outside of the gym he carried himself with more swagger and confidence.

You can’t put your finger on what makes someone confident, but you know it when you see it.

“Confidence” is perplexing.

What is it? And how can you get more of it?

Training jiu-jitsu gives you a quiet confidence that people can intuit.

It changes how you carry yourself, your body language, your tonality, your eye contact — everything about how you interact with other people.

“I’m not looking for a fight I’m a very “peaceful” guy, but there’s a certain amount of confidence that comes from the fact I now know more than how to just pin someone to the ground in a self defense situation, I stand a strong chance of choking them out or breaking an arm/leg if I had to.”u/kobyc

I get feedback from old friends of mine who’re surprised about how much more confident I am after I started training BJJ.

Since I started training, I can certainly say I’m a more confident, outgoing person.

As a result, another benefit of jiu-jitsu is that it’s improved my dating life.

When I’m on dates and I say I train jiu-jitsu, my date’s eyes light up. They want to learn about it — and sometimes, learn some moves.

Training jiu-jitsu demonstrates physicality, competence, and intelligence, all of which are traits that the opposite sex finds attractive.

It makes you more confident and attractive because it forces you to exercise, compete, socialize, and toughen up.

So, if you feel unconfident and want to earn a deep sense of quiet confidence, join a jiu-jitsu gym.

Stay consistent, and slowly, you’ll develop a real confidence that other people will sense in you.

8. You’ll Become More Humble (& A Better Human Being)

Think about the most obnoxious people you know.

Inflated egos. Narcissism. Arrogance. Elitism.

Jiu-jitsu crushes all that out of you. And that’s a good thing.

Yes, jiu-jitsu will make you more confident. But not always because you’ll win.

In fact, for the first 6 months, you’ll get smashed. Online, you’ll find many stories of big strong powerlifters getting strangled on their first day of class by preteen girls.

Most people quit jiu-jitsu because they can’t handle what it does to their ego.

But the ones who stick around? Those are the ones who will reap all of the rewards I write about in this article.

Starting jiu-jitsu is similar to experiencing “ego death.”

You learn how weak, incompetent, and vulnerable you truly are.

You’ll suffer. But that suffering is how you grow.

“I didn’t realize how full of shit I was before I started training. I had an entirely wrong idea about how I was as a person, my strengths and my weaknesses. Basically, I was dishonest with myself, I let my ego rule myself, made excuses when I was deficient at something, and refused to engage in anything I wasn’t good at. To put it briefly: I was very insecure. There is a whole lot of smoke-blowing and ass-kissing throughout life. In work or (especially) in corporate life, in many social relationships, and even in romantic relationships. There are comparatively far fewer lies in studying and practicing jiu jitsu, because you have to constantly prove everything on the mat in live sparring. Exposing yourself in that way makes you immediately aware of your strengths and weaknesses as a grappler, and constantly exposing yourself in such an honest way to others in the realm of grappling begins to make you more comfortable in doing it in other areas of life, such as your work, or socially.”deleted

As you train and improve your skills, you’ll transcend the previous version of yourself.

It’s a journey that will test you, forcing you to criticize yourself if you want to get better.

And once you do get better, you become the one who humbles others.

But you won’t do it from a place of trying to beat newbies up. You’ll do it from a place of compassion and empathy.

You’ll see someone who is where you used to be. And it’s your job to help them get to where you are now.

These are critical life skills that you learn and embody by training jiu-jitsu.

This study explores how training BJJ helps people learn and develop other core life skills, like respect for others, perseverance, self-confidence, and healthy habits.

And this study hypothesizes that training martial arts like jiu-jitsu is a powerful method for cultivating embodied compassion. In my experience, that’s exactly what it does.

When I’m training with a new white belt, I use jiu-jitsu to help them become a better version of themselves. Sometimes, that means smashing them into a pulp — with love.

I’m showing them where they are weak, so they know where they should improve. It’s the same thing upper belts did (and still do) to me.

Jiu-jitsu will humble you more than anything.

Sometimes, it’s going to suck. You’re going to drive home with no music on, sitting in silence, thinking about how bad you are.

But, if you do stick with it, you will slowly get better and better.

And it will make you a more empathetic, compassionate person (one who happens to be able to kill anyone you meet).

9. You’ll Get Into Constant Flow States 

Do you know that feeling you get when you’re completely focused?

When you’re totally in the moment, not thinking of anything else?

This is known as a “flow state.” It happens when you’re doing something that you’re interested in and it’s pushing you to your limits.

Jiu-jitsu is incredible for facilitating these flow states.

When you’re sparring (called “rolling”), you’re completely absolved in the roll.

You’re not thinking about your annoying boss or your taxes because your mind is completely and utterly devoted to the task at hand.

You have to be 100% present, otherwise, you’ll get submitted.

This study discusses the experience of flow in BJJ athletes. It explains how different aspects of training lead to feelings like becoming “one with the activity.”

Achieving a flow state is a highly pleasurable and meaningful experience.

“This sport helps me through the most difficult times of my life. After being trapped in a toxic relationship for a long time Jiu-Jitsu is the only thing where my head goes completely silent and I am just existing and concentrating only what is happening in this moment. No doubts, no worries, nothing. I met some of the coolest, nicest and all around good people on the mats and everyone from my gym cares about each other and we all look out for each other.”u/bambambalaklava

I get into a flow state every time I spar.

My mind goes blank. I’m completely in tune with my body. I’m focused on the task at hand: surviving and submitting my opponent.

The flow states I achieve in jiu-jitsu carry over into my everyday life. It helps “quiet my mind” even when I’m not training.

If you’d like to get into this flow state multiple times per week, then start training jiu-jitsu.

10. You’ll Become Smarter (& Learn How To Learn)

Jiu-jitsu isn’t only tremendously physically challenging, but it’s mentally challenging as well.

This study shows how training martial arts improved the highest order of cognitive performance: executive function.

The authors of this study propose that the increase in executive function was due to the complex, coordinated motor tasks of doing martial arts (as opposed to something like walking).

One definition of BJJ I like is “chess with your body.”

When you’re sparring with an opponent, you’re attempting different moves to try and get the upper hand. It’s a cerebral game.

Training jiu-jitsu forces you to focus on these minute details. Make a tiny technical mistake, and you’re getting strangled.

I tend to be a big-picture thinker who is bored by details. But this attention to detail has trickled into everything I do.

Now, I think about all my problems like jiu-jitsu problems. It’s given me a process for self-analyzing and self-criticizing so I can achieve the outcome I want.

Other jiujiteiros feel the same way:

“I haven’t been doing it very long, but I do feel different. It’s had more of a mental effect than a physical one for me. I feel a lot more patient, and it’s easier for me to think things through instead of just trying to force them to happen. It’s also helped me be more grounded. I think getting my ass wooped is healthy for my ego.”u/sohcaht0a

It takes a long, long time to get good at jiu-jitsu. So, while you’re learning it, you’re trying to figure out how you can get better in the quickest way possible.

You think about the big picture: your “strategy” for how you’ll survive and submit your opponents (even if they’re bigger than you, stronger than you, and faster than you).

In learning jiu-jitsu, you improve your overall skill of learning.

Learning jiu-jitsu helped me pick up coding, improve my writing, and stay mentally sharp.

Even when you’re off the mats, your brain is constantly problem-solving. You’ll think about your rolling sessions, what you did well, and what you could have done better. This is why I keep a BJJ journal to help me improve my mental game.

The best way to maintain your cognitive function is through exercising. And with exercise like jiu-jitsu, you’re maximizing your cognitive effort as you train.

It’s a workout for both your body and your brain. When you train BJJ, you’ll improve both.

11. You’ll Pursue Mastery & Find Meaning

One of my favorite books is Mastery by Robert Greene.

The book explains how masters become masters of their craft. It also explains the benefits of pursuing mastery:

Let us call this sensation mastery—the feeling that we have a greater command of reality, other people, and ourselves. Although it might be something we experience for only a short while, for others—Masters of their field—it becomes their way of life, their way of seeing the world.

If we keep practicing, we gain fluency; basic skills are mastered, allowing us to take on newer and more exciting challenges. We begin to see connections that were invisible to us before. We slowly gain confidence in our ability to solve problems or overcome weaknesses through sheer persistence.

When we reach mastery, this intuition is a power at our command, the fruit of working through the lengthier process. And because the world prizes creativity and this ability to uncover new aspects of reality, it brings us tremendous practical power as well.

Similar to flow, mastery is important to living meaningful, fulfilling lives.

Setting a goal, and working towards that goal, is an integral part to feeling content with yourself. Otherwise, you feel “aimless” and without purpose.

This study shows how mastery-based goals are associated with training effort in BJJ. Your goals — and how much effort you put (or don’t put) into them — are highly related.

Once I started training jiu-jitsu, I stopped wasting as much time.

I became much more disciplined in all areas of my life: my exercise, my stretching, my sleep, my work, etc.


Because I wanted to stay healthy, go to training, and win against my training partners.

Anything that didn’t help me achieve that end didn’t seem as appealing.

This is a very common occurrence once you begin pursuing mastery in any area. It becomes much easer to stop procrastinating:

Zero interest in wasting time with video games or watching TV anymore. Not saying people shouldn’t enjoy these things, but I’d rather try to use the time more productively so I can go to training later.” u/8DDD

Trying to stop procrastinating through sheer willpower is difficult.

But when you’re trying to achieve mastery, you replace procrastination with more productive and fulfilling actions as a by-product.

By starting jiu-jitsu, you’ll begin the pursuit of mastery. And it’s a real journey.

On average, it takes about a decade to get your black belt.

There are no shortcuts. And, like my instructor Ritchie Yip says, “nobody is above the process” — one of my favorite BJJ quotes.

Seeing yourself improve is one of the most addicting parts of jiu-jitsu. Learning new techniques and getting instant feedback is incredibly rewarding and fun. And when you get promoted to a new belt, you feel like you have truly “leveled up” in life.

Life is much better — and much more meaningful — when you’re pursuing mastery. And if you choose to pursue mastery, you might as well pursue mastery in something with as many benefits as BJJ.

12. You’ll Get Your Rite Of Passage & Appreciate Spirituality

Spirituality isn’t for everybody.

I’m not a particularly spiritual person.

But, at times I’ve felt like there is a spiritual aspect to training jiu-jitsu.

Hopefully, the previous 11 benefits have persuaded you to try your first jiu-jitsu class.

But I do think it’s worth discussing the relevance of spirituality and jiu-jitsu, and how it might be a benefit for you.

Spirituality, broadly defined, is the idea that there is something beyond the physical and material realms. It can also take on a religious meaning.

For me, jiu-jitsu is about embodying certain virtues. I know the type of person that I want to be. It’s one thing to say that I’m disciplined, hard-working, and strong…but unless I back up those words with actions, they feel “empty.”

Jiu-jitsu forces you to embody — that is, act out — who you are and who you want to become.

This research paper explores the relationship between jiu-jitsu and spirituality. It concludes with this beautiful passage:

“Whether as a self-defense art or a martial sport, Jiu Jitsu is an essentially spiritual practice that enables access to the deepest domains of the sacred, as its atmosphere is saturated with sacrality. The Jiu-Jitsu Academy is unlike an ordinary gym where one goes only in order to work out, but it constitutes a kind of sacred space, since its structure descends from the religious temples and monasteries where practices of spiritual nature are still carried out; besides it is separated from the profane space. It has been verified that sacred time can occur on the ceremonial rites of belt promotion that can be repeated and recovered cyclically, depending on the practitioner’s belt. The sacred time can also be identified in the performance itself, manifested in a linear and eschatological way from which it is possible to engage in a modality of holy war. It’s been also verified that Jiu Jitsu is endowed with a transcendent dimension from which it is possible to ascend into super-sensible realities through the symbolical experience provided by the combat. Finally, the ascetic potential of Jiu Jitsu made possible by such spiritual experience can reach different levels according to the practitioner’s degree of readiness and proficiency.”

This passage mentions something especially important about jiu-jitsu: the ritual of belt promotions.

Getting a new belt is a rite of passage: a monumental moment in your life that signifies a critical transformation. You leave the gym a changed person, with a new identity.

Me after getting my blue belt!

Rites of passage are universal and fundamental to the human experience. But in the modern world, many people don’t get to experience a rite of passage — or, their rites of passage feel meaningless.

In jiu-jitsu, you’ll get your rite of passage.

When you finally get a black belt, you are rewarded with a new identity — one that brings more respect, status, and prestige.

You can tell by watching black belt ceremonies that these are significant moments in a practitioner’s life:

There are stages of life: birth, graduation, marriage, becoming a parent, becoming a grandparent, death.

Just like there are stages of jiu-jitsu: white belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt, black belt.

In this way, jiu-jitsu mimics life.

As this BJJ player explains:

“I would say one of the things I’ve learned from jiu jitsu is that jiu jitsu is life. We are put in difficult positions throughout our life. If we panic and scramble, the choke sinks deeper. When we learn to stay calm and focus on the proper positioning and approach, we can work our way out of the worst possible positions. Shitty job, relationship, family problems, anxiety problems, all these attacks in life have a defense if you learn to use your jiu jitsu mind to problem solve and escape the situation.” –u/jpagebjj

The spirituality and rites of passage inherent to jiu-jitsu help provide you with inner meaning and higher connectedness to yourself and others.

Now, this benefit might feel very “woo-woo” to you, and fair enough.

Jiu-jitsu can simply be a fun hobby for you to do with your friends. For most people, that rings true.

However, if you are looking for something deeper in a hobby, then you’ll find it in jiu-jitsu.

Benefits Of Jiu-Jitsu: Conclusion

That wraps up the 12 benefits of jiu-jitsu.

No other hobby will make as much of an impact on you as starting BJJ.

It will drastically improve your physical health, your mental health, and your social life.

However, many people fear making that first step into their local BJJ gym.

If that’s you, check out my guide on your first jiu-jitsu class.

It will teach you everything you need to know about how to get started in a safe, comfortable way.

Jiu-jitsu won’t solve all your problems.

But it will turn you into the type of person who can solve your own problems.

What are some of the benefits you’ve noticed from training jiu-jitsu?

Did this article inspire you to give it a try?

Leave a comment in the section below and share your story.

Happy rolling — and see you on the mats!

tsavo neal bjjequipment.com

Tsavo Neal

Tsavo is the founder of BJJ Equipment, an assistant BJJ instructor at InFighting, and a BJJ purple belt. He's a passionate hobbyist and BJJ gear/equipment aficionado. He launched BJJ Equipment in 2022 to make it easy for grapplers to find the best BJJ gear so they look, feel, and perform at their best on the mats.

6 Comments on “12 Benefits Of Jiu-Jitsu: Life-Changing Reasons For Starting BJJ”

  1. It sure was interesting when you said that joining jiu-jitsu classes could allow people to gain confidence in the way they carry themselves. With this in mind, I will consider finding a Jiu-jitsu class for my two children before this month ends. They have been noticeably timid, so I want them to believe more in themselves.

  2. Thank you for explaining how you’ll learn how to break grips when learning Jiu Jitsu. My sister and I were talking about learning how to defend ourselves this year. It seems like Jiu Jitsu should be something we should look into.

  3. My friend is looking for a new activity that can work as a hobby. I like your suggestion to consider jiu-jitsu since it works as an exercise while you develop discipline. I should talk to him about finding a company that offers Krav Maga and other fighting sports training someday.

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