By Matt Cram, 3rd Degree Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor
1. Combines Strength, Cardio and Problem Solving
The scrambles build incredible endurance, and the physical resistance amounts to human weightlifting, as you deal with your partner’s body weight as well as your own. This creates incredible functional fitness. Now, toss in the problem-solving aspect, which stimulates the intellect. This keeps your mind engaged, bringing in elements of fun and play. It also helps guard against conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. “Roll” (pun intended) it all together and you can see why nothing else compares.
2. Develops Confidence and Mental Toughness
Having a partner mounted on top of you and trying to choke you might not sound pleasant. However, when you become accustomed to dealing with such situations, other more trivial things, seem to matter less. You get less stressed out. Not only that but Jiu-Jitsu is 100% real. So, when you learn to escape that mount position, you know you did. Your partner did not let you out. This real-time application of your acquired skill creates unshakable confidence.
3. Stimulates Physiology
As you grapple with your partner, every part of your body contacts the mat. This is a physical experience most of us have not had since early childhood. This ends up stimulating nerve centers all over your body, which in turn sends signals to your physiology to remain healthy and youthful. Much like swimming, Jiu-Jitsu utilizes every muscle in your body, giving you a complete workout.
Jiu-Jitsu grappling can quickly take you to the flow state. As your partner comes after you, trying to submit you, you must react. There is no time to deliberate with your thoughts. Doing so would cause a lag, making you late in your response. In this way, grappling becomes a form of moving meditation. While grappling may only be a small part of your day, the effects of having to stay calm on the mat under pressure, transition into the rest of your daily life.
5. Creates Closeness/Friendship
You may have heard that joining Jiu-Jitsu is joining a family. This is because you end up becoming incredibly close with your training partners. Many people’s lives are lonely and severely lacking in human contact (especially right now). Not only is that under desirable, but it is a situation that science confirms can cause underlying health conditions. In contrast, a Jiu-Jitsu workout is like an hour of “combative cuddling”. Having others in our close personal space creates strong bonds over time. Also, putting our physical safety in our partner’s hands, knowing they will quickly release their hold when we “tap out” creates a deep sense of trust. All of which contribute to a sense of vibrant health!
3rd Degree Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor
Professor Cram has been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 1998. He is currently a 3rd degree blackbelt under master Rigan Machado, of the legendary Machado Brothers, cousins to the Gracie clan. Professor competed in the sport through all the belt levels and helped coach professional MMA fighters in their ground game. He now brings his world-class instruction to Club Greenwood.