Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that teaches not only ways to control and submit your opponent but also ways to live your life. The lessons and values you learn from BJJ include patience, persistence, humility, respect and loyalty. Below is a deeper dive into each of them.
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Jiu-jitsu puts your patience to the test. To start, it takes an average of eight to 12 years to earn a black belt. In other arts, you can receive a black belt in three to four years. For this reason, it’s important to set the right expectations when it comes to jiu-jitsu. Many beginners come into the art thinking they’ll get a new belt every six months. They are surprised when it takes two years to go from white belt to blue belt.
You also have to be patient when it comes to developing actual skill. Sometimes you can watch others do a technique and think it looks easy, but when it comes time to apply it yourself, you realize there are many moving parts. Jiu-jitsu is not just about technique but also about timing, weight distribution and tactics. These aspects of the art are more difficult to teach and often developed through trial and error.
Being patient on the mat with respect to promotions and skill acquisition directly correlates to the patience you need to achieve any worthy goal in life.
Jiu-jitsu also teaches persistence. It’s a very challenging martial art, and even the most accomplished champions have failed time and time again. What sets the champions apart is their ability to dust themselves off and try again with a renewed vigor.
In order to add new techniques to your repertoire, you must not only practice them but also test them in a live setting with resistance. In these attempts, you often fail. Some of the best techniques in your game will be ones you’ve refined for years and years, so it’s important to stick with them for as long as necessary.
Developing persistence in jiu-jitsu shows you that if you stick with something long enough and correct your mistakes along the way, you can achieve much more than you thought possible.
Because jiu-jitsu is such a challenging martial art to learn, you have to set your ego aside from day one and focus on learning as much as you can. This means you often lose to people who are smaller and weaker than you. When you lose a training round, it’s easy to become frustrated, but in order to progress, you must understand how and why you’re losing those rounds.
Once you have the humility to embrace the losses and look at them as learning experiences, you’ll be on the path to correcting your mistakes and not dwelling on prior failures.
This will help you on the mat and whenever you need to set aside preconceived ideas and focus on improving an area of your life.
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Respect is one of the most important lessons you learn in jiu-jitsu. To be successful, you must respect your coach, training partners and opponents.
To respect your coach, you should listen to his or her advice about your jiu-jitsu game and try to implement it. Sometimes you feel that you know what is best, but having someone on the outside looking in gives you a different perspective and helps you achieve more than you could alone.
Respecting your teammates means helping them improve, being there for them when they’re struggling and looking out for their safety when training.
Respecting your opponents means giving them your best effort and shaking hands after the match, regardless of the result.
Although jiu-jitsu is largely an individual martial art, having a strong team is undeniably important. Your team will be there for you through all your ups and downs throughout your jiu-jitsu journey. The bonds you build with your teammates and the loyalty that comes with all of it helps you realize that you’re stronger as a team than you are alone. This applies not only to BJJ but also to every meaningful endeavor in life.
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