Why should I start to practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

10) Discipline. Probably a cliche when it comes to martial arts, but if you can be disciplined about your training, this will carry over to other aspects of your life. Judging from the rampant levels of procrastination, I’m sure we could all use a little more of this in our lives.

9) Positive environment. A jiu-jitsu dojo is almost certainly the most positive environment you’ll ever be in. It’s filled with people constantly trying to improve their jiu-jitsu, to improve themselves, which doesn’t leave much time to judge others. With all the negativity we experience throughout the day, such an uplifting place is a welcome relief, an oasis if you will.

8) You need to get in shape. If you need to get in shape, few things will actually work your entire body like a jiu-jitsu class. The warm up alone will leave you gasping for air. Actually, it’s not uncommon for newcomers to drop out midway through their first class. Do not let this deter you. This is almost like a badge of honor. As long as you keep trying, you’ll be in great shape before you know it.

7) Lack of confidence. So you’re not that confident in yourself? Jiu-jitsu builds your self esteem in a way that few things can. When you first start, almost all of the concepts are completely foreign to you. As you continue to train over time, you become more familiar and more comfortable with all of the techniques, and your understanding grows. As your jiu-jitsu grows, your confidence in your jiu-jitsu grows with it, and this translates to higher self-esteem even outside of the dojo.

6) You’re stressin’ out. You’re really stressed out, and you need someway to get rid of it? Exercise comes highly recommended in terms of stress relief, and jiu-jitsu takes that to the next level. Whereas other forms of exercise only focus on a few areas, jiu-jitsu utilizes every part of your body, leaving you cool as a cucumber when you’re done.

5) Interpersonal relationships. You’re not a people person. I get it. Guess what, jiu-jitsu makes you a great people person. When you’re in a place where everyone is helping each other out, and you can be yourself, you start learning how to interact with people better. First you start to be really social with the people on the mat, then you realize your social skills are better no matter where you are.

4) Follow through. A lot of people have the issue of not finishing what they’ve started. Jiu-jitsu teaches us to follow through. When you’re training, if you’re trying to submit someone, it might take you four or five tries to get the submission. If you gave up after your first try, you’d never succeed. Jiu-jitsu teaches us to persevere, to follow through.

3) Good habits. Jiu-jitsu often forces us to create not only good habits, but healthy habits. You’ll start waking up early, going to bed early, eating healthy, doing even more exercise outside of jiu-jitsu, reading more. Heck, you might even quit smoking. Don’t believe jiu-jitsu can do all that? Start training and tell me how those Big Macs are working out for you.

2) Setting and achieving goals. When you start jiu-jitsu, you should be making a goal, and that goal is to achieve your black belt. But jiu-jitsu doesn’t make you create a ridiculously long term goal. No one ever sticks with those – unless you break it up into smaller goals. When you focus on achieving each belt, goals that last only 1-2 years, or even focus on learning a new move, goals that last a few days, or your personal fitness goals, it’s easy to see how jiu-jitsu teaches us to set goals and achieve them.

1) Self defense. The best reason to learn jiu-jitsu is for self defense. It was created for that purpose, to level the playing field, so that smaller and weaker people could handle themselves against bigger and stronger opponents. Some people think they’ll never be in a situation where they’ll need to defend themselves. Why take that risk? I’m not talking about a bar room brawl, I’m talking about someone mugging you at knife point while you’re alone in the middle of the night. Or some drunk guy is getting a little too loud and a little too close on the train. Unfortunately, if you hit him, you’ll be the one in trouble with the law. This is why jiu-jitsu is so versatile – it gives you a middle ground. It gives you tools to neutralize a threat that doesn’t have to end with you punching someone in the face, or breaking someone’s arm. These options are there if you need them, but you have alternatives.