5 Ways Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Makes Athletes Better
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that combines throwing, holding, choking and submitting an opponent. BJJ has been popularized in mixed martial arts, most prominently in UFC.
With BJJ, the athlete uses muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility to develop a wide array of fitness attributes.
Although you might not be interested in competing in Jiu Jitsu, learning the martial art has many benefits that can make you a better athlete in virtually every sport. Here's why.
Muscular Power and Strength
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, an athlete learns not only how to use his or her own bodyweight, but also how to move the weight of an opponent. Athletes learn how to push, pull, hold, bridge, explode and use their hips in a functional manner to submit and/or escape from an opponent.
Basically, you improve every aspect of fitness that you need to be a successful athlete. In addition, you learn how to get into the best positions to exert strength and power, and ultimately overmatch an opponent. By mastering this technique, you just might be able to overpower an athlete who is bigger and stronger than you.
With practices, bouts and matches, depending on his or her type and level, an athlete can roll from 2 to 8 minutes. BJJ primarily challenges the aerobic energy system, which is essential for long duration endurance and recovery after max-effort movements. But the sport also involves short bursts of quickness and power, which simulate skills such as jumping, sprinting or changing directions.
No doubt, BJJ will improve your energy systems and make you one of the fittest athletes in your sport.
Jiu Jitsu teaches an athlete how to get to and get out of situations he or she has never been in. Flexibility is a big component, from warm-up to practice and cooldown. Becoming more flexible reduces your risk of injury and allows you to move through the ranges of motion needed to maximize your skills.
Jiu Jitsu not only teaches athletes how to submit an opponent and get in better overall shape, it also teaches how to escape from holds and chokes and prevent attacks, which puts anyone who practices it in a better situation. Jiu Jitsu shows smaller individuals how to defend themselves. It's also great for women who want to get in better shape and acquire real world functional strength, giving them peace of mind and confidence in knowing they can defend themselves.
Tips for Beginners
Thomas Kenney, regional director of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for UFC Gym, thinks everyone should give it a shot. "Just like most sports and with anything new, be open minded and ask questions," Kenney says. The sport of BJJ is full of open-minded instructors and encourages anyone interested to seek out a local gym. Don't be afraid to try!