Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Probably haven’t heard of it

Placing the spotlight on one of the world’s most exciting Martial arts. The beginning It was the beginning of summer 2015, The long break always…

Placing the spotlight on one of the world’s most exciting Martial arts.

The beginning

It was the beginning of summer 2015, The long break always seemed like an eternity as I thoroughly enjoyed the various school sporting events made available during term time. Most importantly Rugby Union, my first true love. I pondered on what to do, it was paramount that I try something new. Something that that would truly challenge me physically and psychologically. So, I took to the web and stumbled upon ‘Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’.

BJJ is a martial art that specialises in grappling and ground fighting. Developed by the Gracie brothers in early 20th century Brazil, it promoted the concept of the weaker individual being able to overcome much larger opponents through efficient technique and leverage.  A concept which remains important to this day. Through its influence the sport has reached international proportions, with gyms all over the world from countries such as the USA to Turkey.

BJJ is a competitive sport, with regular championships held around the world. Credit Getty Images

My first session was interesting, I quickly learnt that size and strength meant very little when up against the skilful, intricate techniques the sport prides itself on. To put it bluntly I got chocked and twisted around in various positions for two hours. What surprised me more was that I had been manhandled by what appeared to be everyday harmless civilians. Wincing as I rolled out of bed the next morning, truthfully it felt like I had been stripped of all ego and maybe a few ligaments. I contemplated on not returning to the gym but decided against it as there would be no benefit in quitting without giving my best efforts first.

 After a few sessions I became more acquainted with the basic positioning/strategies. From then on, I started to enjoy it as I felt like I was learning, this reflected in rolling (term used for sparring) as I could just about survive with the higher belts. I noticed that it was just as much mental as physical, planning my own moves while anticipating my opponents. It reminded me of chess, as I was forced to think ahead.

Reasons to join

  1. Equality

This sport is truly for anyone! Whether young or elderly, tall or short, male or female, anyone can participate. The only real obligation is that one’s nails should be well groomed to avoid scratches. The beauty of the sport is that it brings together individuals from all walks of life. Considering this, beware as looks can be incredibly deceiving. I had my own day of reckoning when rolling (the term used for sparring) with a female blue belt in her mid-40’s. On the surface she looked unassuming; clearly no match for my newly learnt YouTube skills I planned to use that week. That was before she made me her rag doll for the best part of a 3-minute round. Through experiences such as the above I came to truly appreciate individuals for who they were. The sport taught me how to erase any preconceptions about people better than any book or speech would.

  1. Fitness

When it comes to fitness, BJJ undoubtedly trumps all my experiences in sport. Your body is constantly working to attack and defend, naturally there will be lighter periods but ultimately the action never stops. This leads to noticeable improvements in cardio vascular fitness. Physically demanding in its nature, the sport will also encourage a more active lifestyle overall. For example, one may start basic strength training to adapt to the rigour or stretching to improve mobility. Ultimately incorporation of these activities will lead to an increased performance capacity. In short, you will probably need to bring a spare towel.

  1. Friendship

It would seem bizarre to an onlooker that two people could mangle each other than converse as normal. There is comradery woven into BJJ like no other sport. Perhaps it stems from the fact that everyone remembers what it was like to be a novice with no clue of what to do other than survive. It seems like spending so much time on the ground really levels everyone out. From experience in training at a BJJ gym, every individual certainly had their unique character traits. Though the one thing they all had in common was humility. We all know what being the newcomer feels like, and there is nothing better to calm those nerves like a truly welcoming environment.

By: Temi Adedeji

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments, opinions on this website are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of M-Lifestyle and their affiliates. M-Lifestyle does not claim ownership of any images used, unless otherwise specified.




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