By Coach Tommy, black belt under Roger Gracie and head instructor at Elevate Martial Arts and Strength
If you have never trained regularly in Brazilian jiu-jitsu it is almost impossible to imagine how many benefits it can bring to your life. It is best known as a core element of mixed martial arts, as a formidable grappling style that became famous when the UFC arrived in the 1990s.
This reputation as a fighting style is well deserved, and not just in the cage. If you want to learn one martial art for self-defence, whether you are a civilian or work in law enforcement, you can’t do better than jiu-jitsu.
I have taught seminars to police officers, and there are so many things to share that don’t even involve chokes and arm-locks. Keeping distance is vital, as it maintaining a strong base so you don’t get knocked over. If you do find yourself on the ground, we teach you the quickest way to get up and avoid taking any damage.
These are all vital skills, and then if you do have to engage with an opponent, jiu-jitsu teaches you how to control them in the least aggressive way, subdue them with the minimum damage caused, unlike striking martial arts where your only way to subdue a person is to hit them.
But there is so much more to it than learning to fight. The biggest benefit for me is the ability to remain calm under pressure. I have a day job in finance and it can be incredibly stressful. With jiu-jitsu you will be put under pressure every time you come to class, and learning to deal with the physical pressure of somebody trying to strangle you translates very well to your ability to stay calm whatever life throws at you.
Jiu-jitsu also works like a form of meditation. It takes you out of yourself and stops you worrying about your problems. After an hour of jiu-jitsu it is like your brain has been reset, and you can go out and face whatever else life throws at you.