Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a grappling art originally developed by the Gracie family of Brazil. It is an extraordinarily exciting, fun and fulfilling form of physical and mental exercise. At a time when women can struggle with their fitness, weight and body image as well as cope with the stresses and pressures of daily life, BJJ offers an exceptionally enjoyable means to take control of your fitness and physique, boost your self confidence, make friends, develop self defense skills and have fun! Are you a woman who has never tried Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Here’s 10 reasons you should give it a chance.
- Weight Loss
Rigorous, regular training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be an important part of an exercise plan aimed at losing weight. BJJ training improves cardiovascular and muscular health while improving flexibility, coordination and endurance. By helping you to meet your weight loss goals, BJJ can have a positive influence on your body image. In my own experience, BJJ helped me to shed 5kgs/11lbs several years ago and continued training keeps me trim, strong and flexible; I credit BJJ with helping me to develop a more positive body image.
When it comes to building a lean and lithe bod, Pilates has nothing on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. BJJ is a grappling art, related to traditional Japanese martial arts such as Judo as well as grappling arts such as wrestling. Training is done from the ground (rather than from standing as in boxing). Therefore, in the natural course of practicing your ‘moves’ with your training partner, not only will you be shifting your own weight you will also be working against the resistance of your partner’s weight. I’ve found BJJ an incredibly effective means of reducing fat and increasing lean muscle while avoiding bulk.
- Weight Maintenance
Losing weight is one thing, sustaining that weight loss in a healthful non-stressful manner is another. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training is, in itself, a great form of exercise that is both fun, challenging and effective. Moreover, you may find it encourages you to make better choices in your day-to-day. For me, my great love for BJJ leads me to drink little, avoid smoking (two things which I did more heavily before BJJ) and take care of myself inside and out. BJJ has been instrumental in freeing me from self-destructive habits; by enjoying consistently healthful choices you can maintain your weight loss.
- Hot Fighter Dudes
But, seriously, if you’re interested in meeting men, martial arts, and especially the grappling arts, are great. There are relatively few women so you’ll have the ‘pick of the litter’ and you’ve got a shared interest to help you get to know each other. Take it from a woman who met her husband in a martial arts club.
Okay, so perhaps you’re not lookin’ for love. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is still a great way to meet people. You’ll share a special journey and bond with your club mates and everyone is there to help everyone else improve. Friendships and sociability are known to promote good mental health, feelings of happiness and have been linked to longevity. BJJ training is an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, share experiences and grow closer. For me, my training partners have become like family.
- Self Defence
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as developed by the Gracie family, focuses on the self preservation of the smaller, weaker person versus a larger, stronger attacker. This principle has clear benefits where the female practitioner is concerned. BJJ training emphasizes the importance of technique over force. While smaller practitioners may struggle for success early on in their training, because smaller individuals must also make the technique work to progress, they can often develop an impressive level of technique. In turn, this technical ability can be used to neutralize the strength advantage of a larger untrained attacker.
- New Wardrobe
BJJ training is done in gi (gee with a hard ‘g’). There is a universe of gi manufacturers, cuts, styles, colors, fabrics, textures, patches and embroidered bling, including tie dyed gi, camouflage gi and pink and yellow gi. Getting involved in BJJ is an excuse to explore an entirely new world of clothes-shopping!
- Personal Development
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be much more than a sporting or athletic pursuit and was conceived by its founders, the Gracie family, as a full system of health, well being and personal improvement. BJJ training can help you to confront and resolve personal issues. In a very real sense, your physical performance in training is a gauge of your state of mind. For me, it is immediately apparent from my training when life outside of training is getting me down or personal insecurities are getting the upper hand. The best way for me to progress in my training is to work through those things that are making me unhappy or insecure. On the flip side, achievements in training can boost your feelings of happiness and confidence and translate to a sense of fulfillment in your daily life.
- Mental Challenge
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely challenging martial art, sometimes referred to as ‘human chess’. Just because the training is physical, it should not be assumed that there is no intellectual component to training. On the one hand, BJJ, as a physical discipline, is quite demanding, and the physical challenges you’ll face on your journey are best met with a strong mind. On the other hand, where you may lack ‘mental toughness’, training in BJJ can help you to build a steely resolve and limber mind.
- Fun Way to Relax
Last but not least, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is bonkers! It is a tremendously enjoyable activity and a superb way to relax. Exercise is widely understood to be a fundamental aspect of health, happiness and longevity. BJJ can form the basis of an exercise regime that keeps you interested with new problems to solve, new moves to learn and endless variation in how you apply your training. Combine the physical and mental challenges of BJJ training and you’ve got a great way to enjoy yourself, get fit and relieve the stresses of the day-to-day.