Are you interested in martial arts? Have you been thinking about and sifting through the various self-defense disciplines that are out there? If so, beautiful. It’s my opinion that everyone should know how to defend and protect themselves as well as their loved ones. In your research, you’ve more than likely encountered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
As one of the most popular (and effective) forms of self-defense, learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) seems like a no-brainer.
However, just because others enjoy it doesn’t necessarily mean that will be the case for you. As a result, it’s important to do your own research prior to making any commitments.
In this article, I will answer the question: is Brazilian jiu-jitsu right for you?
Now, I’ve only been training in BJJ for 10 months, so I’m certainly no expert on the topic. But within that time frame, I’ve learned that if you have enough reasons why training is important to you, and are fine with the less than favorable attributes of BJJ, then it may be a good fit.
As such, I’ll draw from my limited experience to share with you the pros and cons of the sport, and then you can decide for yourself.
Having said that, here are the…
Pros and Cons of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Prior to starting anything new, it’s always a smart and prudent decision to do a little homework. The last thing you want to do is commit to something; invest your time, money, and energy only to realize it wasn’t really for you to begin with.
And that’s what this article is about; to give you the information you need to see if BJJ is worth it for you to try out.
Let’s take a closer look at the good and bad of jiu-jitsu.
The Pros of BJJ
I love this sport. And quite frankly, I believe the pros FAR outweigh any cons that are associated with it. For this reason, I think everyone should train in BJJ (or at the very least, try it). However, my goal with this article is to give you an unbiased overview so you have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right sport for you.
With that being said, let’s take a deep dive into the pros and cons of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, beginning with the pros.
1. Keeps You in Shape
As an athlete, I lift weights, run marathons, and do all types of other exercises. However, few things can compare to the full-body workout I get from an intense rolling session in a BJJ class. Even if you’re in good shape; rolling with a solid partner will leave you gassed and depleted — in a good way.
And it’s this kind of intense exercise that will keep you fit and strong.
In fact, you can literally burn hundreds of calories in a single session of training in BJJ. As a result, this kind of fitness regime will keep you healthy and strong as long as you continue showing up for class each week.
2. Challenges You Mentally
While training, your body isn’t the only thing being challenged — your mind is also constantly at work when you’re on the mats. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is like a puzzle. As a result, your mind is continually thinking of how to escape compromising positions, avoid submissions, and implement certain moves and attacks.
Consequently, you are challenged mentally as you’re forced to think of the multitude of variables at play. This has the added benefit of strengthening your problem-solving skills in everyday life as it enhances your cognitive thinking abilities.
3. Builds Confidence
BJJ is ranked among the most effective martial arts in the world. And for good reason. As a grappling combat sport that specializes in groundwork, BJJ is highly effective since 85% of fights end up on the ground.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu instills confidence by teaching you how to defend yourself. After spending enough time on the mats, you’ll feel more assured in your everyday life.
The Cons of BJJ
In anything you do, it’s important to always know your downside risk. And with BJJ — as amazing as it is — there are still things you should be aware of when determining if this sport is right for you. Here are a few things to consider:
1. It’s Expensive
If you’re on a tight budget or just plain and simply don’t like forking out cash for things, BJJ may not be for you. Everything from your membership fees to your gi, to your mouthguard and grappling dummy (the dummy is optional), can really add up.
As a result, it’s not exactly the most cost-effective martial art out there. However, if you’re serious and committed to showing up to class and learning, I think you will find that the cost is money well spent.
2. Up Close & Personal
BJJ is a very up close and personal martial art. I mean, all martial arts are up close and personal, but BJJ especially. You’ll be rolling with multiple training partners. And as a result, you’ll get quite “familiar” with each other in many unsuspecting ways.
For this reason, it’s important to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into when you sign up for BJJ.
For example, you’ll get caught in awkward positions with certain body parts in your face, sweat will get in your eyes and mouth, and you’ll even get the occasional rolling partner who didn’t get the memo to bathe before class.
3. Risk of Injuries
They may call it the “gentle art”, but don’t let that fool you; Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be brutal. It is a combat sport after all. And for this reason, there is always a risk of injury. However, relative to other martial arts like kickboxing or muay tai, BJJ is certainly a “safer” option, if there ever was one.
But injuries are always a possibility when training — regardless of the art form you choose.
In fact, I recently injured my shoulder in a BJJ class. I had strained it while rolling; resulting in it becoming inflamed. This hindered my shoulder’s mobility and caused me a lot of pain (and a trip to the medical center).
It wasn’t a severe injury, by any means. However, it did require a prescription as well as two weeks off the mats to properly heal.
Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Right For You?
Truthfully, I can’t answer that for you. But in my own biased opinion, I think everyone should at least try BJJ. Only then can you make a well-informed decision as to whether or not it’s a good fit for you. But simply by looking at the above pros and cons list, you can make an educated guess.
If you’re not deterred by the cons and still find yourself excited about BJJ — then it may be a good fit. However, the only way to know for sure is to jump in and experience it first-hand.