If you are reading this, you are looking to start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Or you are wondering if all that hard work and time invested in the sport will pay off in one way or another.
Is BJJ Worth It? Doing BJJ as doing any other sport or activity will take away your time and money, but it does have benefits. You gain a lot of strength and endurance while learning to defend yourself. You gain mental toughness and new friends. You learn to discipline yourself and also have fun while doing it.
There are a lot of things included in practicing BJJ. Some of them are fun, and some of them are not as much. For example, injuries, etc. So it requires even more information and details to understand if BJJ is your Martial art.
BJJ Training Benefits, Costs, Time, And Who Can Train It
Like each Sport or Martial Art, they have many pros and cons which must be considered. As with any other sport or exercise, it has health and other benefits. Such as:
- Weight control
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Strength gain
- Mood improvement
- Great for any age, body type, gender, and skill level
- Reduces stress
- Reduces cortisol
- Increases coordination
- Increases balance
- Increases patience
- Makes you mentally more substantial and more focused
There are more than just health benefits. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent sport for people of any age and background. It can help to increase your body coordination and balance. So, small kids can start practicing this sport as well. Sometimes even as early as age 4-5.
During your BJJ practice, you will do a lot of drills and practice them over and over again. This will help you control your body better and just help you move it more effortlessly. You will feel the mind-muscle connection and notice that you can control your body better. Increased strength is another thing that you will see.
Now, if you are only practicing BJJ, your strength will not go up as fast as if you were training something like weight lifting. It will gradually increase as you train, so just be patient. Of course, as with any type of exercise, you need to have a specific diet depending on your goal because you will progress much slower without it.
Real World Implementation
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a peaceful sport because you do not need to hurt your opponent to take control or win. And as with any combat sport, you can apply what you learned in the outside world. Now you shouldn’t make any of the moves you learned at your BJJ gym outside the world unless necessary.
But BJJ is great for self-defense because, as mentioned above, you do not need to physically damage your opponent. You can still take control over their body and thus protect yourself from getting hurt by them. BJJ is also being taught to the policeman and other special forces so they can stop a person without needing to use more significant power.
Competing and Money Needed
BJJ is also an excellent sport for individuals. Whether you are not a team player or want to try competing for yourself, BJJ can be great for this. You are in charge of your success. By practicing BJJ, you develop critical thinking ability, which will help you in other aspects of life.
You will not have much time to think about what to do next when you are sparring with your opponent or competing, so you will learn to think fast and make fast and efficient decisions. Also, if you want to know how much you need to train before you start competing, be sure to read our article about it.
Now Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not a cheap sport. You can always start BJJ without pieces of equipment, but as you get better and more into the sport, you will need a BJJ GI (uniform), and for NO GI BJJ, you will need rash guards and NO GI shorts.
Those things and a couple more such as mouth guards and knee guards can cost you around 100$. Also, it can depend more on whether you want to compete professionally or just practice it for your satisfaction. Of course, your diet will also need a good amount of money in it so you can progress faster and see the results you are chasing faster.
There is also a monthly membership to your BJJ gym, which can vary greatly depending on the gym and the country you are practicing it at. Some gyms can charge the membership as low s 30-50$ a month, but some charge up to 250-300$ a month.
Travel costs are also included in the sport itself when it comes to competing. You will often find yourself traveling to different cities or countries when competing or attending seminars to learn about new things, so you will need to put money aside for that.
Most people estimate that you will need around 200-300$ each month for your BJJ expenses. Still, it can also be lower than that if you are training at a budget-friendly gym, not going to competitions, and/or buying equipment frequently.
Who Is BJJ Good For?
You have probably heard the saying “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone,” which is true. It doesn’t matter if you are young or if you are old. You can still go to your local BJJ gym and sign up. You could have a background in other combat sports, which would be a good thing. However, if you do have no previous experience with combat sports or sports, you could still try it.
But not everyone is suitable for BJJ. Even though this sport can adapt to beginners or expert students, BJJ may not be the best discipline for you to train, depending on certain circumstances.
- You Are Easily Discouraged and Impatient. It won’t be simple to prove how quickly you developed into a good grappler in this sport. BJJ will take time to master, and you will not be an overnight success. This may not be the perfect pastime for you if you quickly become discouraged when you do not succeed at something straight away.
Growing your skill will take time because it is a complex sport. But once you do, you’ll feel even better for devoting yourself to a difficult task. That is a valid reward for this sport and any other skill you are learning.
- You Want to Stand on Your Feet and Strike. BJJ is not the best sport to learn how to punch or kick your opponent. All because it focuses on floor grappling and pinning your opponent to the ground submitting them. MMA styles like boxing, karate, and judo would better fit you in these situations.
- You Are Already Practicing Some Other Sport. BJJ is an excellent complement to other disciplines because it may help you with your balance, coordination, and strength. Yet, suppose you are competing in a tournament or training very hard. In that case, you should not mix with other disciplines during this intense training period.
When you put too much pressure on your body, you risk overtraining and experiencing the opposite of what you wanted, such as weakened arms, decreased strength, and weakened attention.
- You Have Upper Body Injuries. BJJ may appear complicated on the knees, but you spend most of your time on your back, so no one submits to you while on your knees. They will usually place submissions on your arms and elbows. As a result, if you are weak or have recently suffered an injury to your elbows or arms, you should take it easy and avoid BJJ.
Even if there aren’t any significant risks to your shoulders or elbows, it’s still best to be cautious if you’re still healing. To be clear, your opponent will not snap your arm backward even if you have an arm injury. You will tap, thus letting them know that you are surrendering, and they will let you go from the position under which they have submitted you.
To conclude, BJJ is worth it if you are;
- Looking to improve your coordination, balance, strength, and athleticism
- Patient and understand that you will have to wait to see significant changes.
- Looking for something to challenge you mentally and physically
On the other hand, it may not be worth it if you are;
- Looking for a budget-friendly activity
- Looking for quick results
- Heavily committed to some other sport and want to avoid overtraining
Time Needed For BJJ
You are probably wondering how much time you need to start BJJ. And the answer may vary depending on your goals. If you want more physical activity and have fun doing it, you can go to the gym several times a week.
If you plan on competing, you must go 3-5 days a week. Another thing that will take some time will be food prepping because you will need to fuel your body with good nutrition. That way, it will be stronger, and you will feel better about your practices.
Is Jiu-Jitsu Effective in Real Life?
BJJ is good for self-defense as it allows you to take on or defend yourself against an opponent more giant than you or stronger. You could argue that it is not, but there have been many situations where BJJ helped somebody defend themselves from an attacker.
Now you shouldn’t try to be a hero if an attacker is holding some kind of a weapon. But if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, the knowledge you have gained in your BJJ classes will be helpful.
As with any other combat sport, you will have an advantage over anyone who is not practicing it. Thus, you increase your chances of getting unharmed out of a dangerous situation. Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most effective self-defense martial arts you can learn.
With just a few weeks of practice, you should have a significant grappling advantage over an untrained opponent.
How Does BJJ Change Your Body?
BJJ is a great way to build strength without picking up any dumbbells. BJJ provides a full-body workout that includes a lot of grappling, which makes strength throughout your entire body. If you want to build bigger muscles, BJJ will not give you that. Your muscles will stay the same size but get much stronger.
Weight lifting is recommended while training BJJ because it helps you gain more strength. It will help you with your practice as you can control your opponent better and easier if you are stronger than him. But there are BJJ students that include weight lifting in their BJJ program to achieve their dream physique.
At the same time, they maintain the strength and flexibility they got from practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Also, if you want to learn more about why strength training can be good for BJJ, our next article may be helpful for you.
What Should I Expect in My First BJJ Class?
Generally, as with any other sport, you will not get to do many things in your first class. You will get to do drills so the couch can see what you should be working on more and what needs improvement.
If you have no experience practicing combat sports, you will need more time to adapt. Usually, when people start BJJ, they do not have reasonable control over their bodies. Your coach will help you with that as they will have you do more movement drills to get used to moving your body in ways you haven’t.
Those drills could include;
- Hip escapes/ Shrimp
- Forward roll
- Backward roll
- Break fall
- Technical standup
And more could be added to the list. You probably ask yourself what I should wear to my first BJJ class.
You do not have to own GI’s and training clothes as you may not know if you will stick around. You do not need to spend money on those things right away. You can show up in regular shorts and a t-shirt. Make sure you keep your hygiene in order, as that is critical. Shoes are not allowed on the matt as they are dirty, but wrestling shoes may be allowed. Wear nothing with additional pockets, belt loops, or baggy fabric. These are dangerous because fingers and toes can get stuck in them and cause injuries. An excellent example of what not to wear is baggy cargo shorts.
Make sure that the nails on your fingers and toes are cut so that you would not accidentally hurt anyone and cut them. If you have long hair, tie it up in a bun because you could get hurt as you roll on the floor. If you wear piercings, rings, or jewelry, take it off before starting the class.
After you are done with all of that, you will start to warm up. Warm-up depends on your coach. Some prefer to warm up with light drills, and some like to do heavy-duty conditioning. Most classes will start with a group warm-up, such as running laps and doing push-ups, squats, and crunches. After them, you will have solo drills to help warm up your hips and joints.
You will probably not know how to do some of those drills, but you shouldn’t worry because nobody does in their first class. You can look at other people and try to copy what they do. Your coach will help you do them correctly if they think you are not doing them as you should. The important thing is to try as much as possible; after some time, you will master them. After all of that is done, you will be partnered with a training partner of your size so you can start your first lesson.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone. Your BJJ journey will depend on your goals, budget, and time to practice it. If you want to put in the effort, you should do it because there are more pros than cons.
Now maybe you still think that BJJ is not worth it. It can cost a lot of money, and you need a lot of time to progress. You can always try another martial art if you feel it is boring. Whether it is a combat sport or not, you should have physical activity because you will feel happier and better about yourself.
If you want to try out some other combat sports, you can. There are more than 150 of them, so do your research, and you will find the one suitable for you.