5 Life Lessons of BJJ


Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling sport that focuses on takedowns, ground fighting, and self-defense designed to subdue a stronger opponent. Most current jiu-jitsu originates from the Gracie family, several of whom dominated the early days of mixed martial arts fighting. Royce Gracie won 3 of the first 4 UFCs with jiu-jitsu, leading to its wide recognition as one of the most effective forms of martial arts.

This article is not about jiu-jitsu’s prowess as a fighting style, but rather how it can benefit your life in immeasurable ways. These are five things it has led me to discover:

1. Failure is inescapable

Are you on the path to achieving your dreams? If not, I guarantee that it is because you are terrified of failure. To improve at jiu-jitsu, you must put yourself in a life-or-death position literally hundreds of times in your first few months as a white belt. Tapping out to someone says “I acknowledge that my physical safety is completely in your hands,” a difficult admission for most to accept. Affliction-wearing meatheads wash out quickly because they cannot stand the blow to their egos. Jiu-jitsu teaches you to manage the humiliation and emotional dump that comes with failure. Failing at jiu-jitsu desensitizes you to failing in life, the only way you can begin to succeed.

2. There is always someone better than you

Whether your passion includes game, fitness, athleticism, writing, or fighting, jiu-jitsu forces you to accept that you are never the master of your craft. How many times have you seen a gorgeous girl on the arms of a toady guy, only to hear your friends talk derisively about how his luck or money are the only reasons for his success? It is a loser’s mindset to hate on someone because they are superior to you at something. Respecting and acknowledging mastery comes with exposure to the red pill mindset, and with exposure to jiu-jitsu as well.


3. There are no shortcuts

It is well-established that experts in any field are made through thousands of hours of deliberate practice. Some people are better natural athletes or learn moves faster, but the true beasts at my gym are the guys who have put in the longest hours on the mat. Learning jiu-jitsu emphasizes the dedication necessary to achieve proficiency in any area. You can passively await a one-in-a-million stroke of luck, or you can take ownership of your position today and begin logging the hours required for mastery.

4. Your body is your greatest physical possession

Once you see the wondrous things you can do with it, it will deeply trouble you how little most people respect theirs. I ate well and worked out regularly before I began training, but seeing what some people can do on the mat drives me to optimize all aspects of my health. Older guys say that you only realize how much of a gift your body is when it begins to break down. I believe them and want to delay that process. Jiu-jitsu helps to redefine your commitment to your own body on a daily basis, amidst a population that is 2/3 overweight or obese.


5. Your daily grind matters less than you think

The Fight Club narrator insists that fighting turns down the volume on the rest of your life. This is true. Once you are put within a hair’s breadth of serious injury on a regular basis, nagging things in your life lose significance. Lost your job? You’ll find another one. Girl not interested in you? No big deal, there’s plenty more. Having to modulate your stress level under extreme duress rewires your brain, giving you the ice in the veins required to excel in any competitive environment.

Jiu-jitsu is a beautiful art, one I would encourage anyone to try. Gym owners may try to sell jiu-jitsu or other martial arts as necessary to defend yourself in fights or prevent bullying, but this is a tertiary benefit at best. More importantly, from its lessons on failure, dedication, prioritization, and mastery, Brazilian jiu-jitsu teaches you how to become a better man.

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