Jiu Jitsu is a combat sport.
In Jiu Jitsu, a large part of training time is spent in one-on-one sparring, or rolling, sessions where each student is doing their best to achieve a dominant position, maintain that position, and then attempt to submit, or “tap”, their opponent. How can this activity improve the quality of life? How can something so seemingly violent help someone physically, mentally and spiritually?
The first mistake people make about Jiu Jitsu is comparing it to fighting. Fighting is scary. Fighting outside of the controlled environment of a Jiu Jitsu school can be downright dangerous. But the “fight” in Jiu Jitsu isn’t as violent as many people think. In Jiu Jitsu sparring, there are no punches, no kicking, no biting, etc., just one student’s intelligence and leverage pitted against another’s. The objective in Jiu Jitsu isn’t to hurt the opponent, but rather to have your opponent admit defeat before any “hurt” is applied. This is why people “tap out”. It takes practice, patience and consistency to get to that level regularly.
So, how can the art of Jiu Jitsu improve the quality of life of a practitioner?
There are many obstacles in life that can use a little Jiu Jitsu practicality. No, jumping on your boss or professor when they upset you and putting them to sleep with a Jiu Jitsu “Lion Tamer” choke isn’t the way to improve things. Neither is arm locking the person who cuts you off in traffic. Dealing with problems, be they physical, mental or otherwise, is always best done while keeping a level head, just as in Jiu Jitsu. Having a level head, or keeping your cool, is something that takes practice, especially if you are prone to blowing up when things go wrong. It also takes patience to stay cool under pressure, as many people will test your patience when you least expect it. If you can consistently remind yourself to “keep calm and carry on”, you are on the right path to a drastically improved life.
Jiu Jitsu builds us physically through the exercises, mentally through the challenges and spiritually through the ups and downs of training. The entire experience involves practice to improve, patience to see your improvement and consistency to reach the improvement.
Being forced into uncomfortable situations and having to deal with them is the hallmark of Jiu Jitsu. It truly is the art of life.