A Beginner's Guide to Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-jitsu is currently named as one of the most popular forms of martial arts. Originally hailing from Japan, jiu-jitsu focuses on grappling and ground fighting. It may seem intimidating to those who are unfamiliar with the sport, especially if they’re not used to the amount of contact that fighters come into. However, by focusing on proper technique and taking the fighting to the ground, it gives those who are smaller in stature the same advantage as larger opponents.

Here’s a quick beginner’s guide to jiu-jitsu.


What is Jiu-Jitsu?

Jiu-jitsu is a martial art that involves grappling to control your resisting opponent. Using the proper techniques, you can force your competitor into submission. Many of the techniques used in jiu-jitsu are centered around groundwork, which is exactly what it sounds like — maneuvers that focus on taking your opponent to the ground.

One of the more unique aspects of jiu-jitsu is that a physically smaller and potentially weaker opponent may overpower his or her competitor by utilizing leverage, grip, and position. Students of jiu-jitsu leverage knowledge on detailed mechanics of the human body, to subdue his or her opponent, and can even use the opponent’s strength against them. Consequently, jiu-jitsu requires quick thinking on one’s feet, combining physical prowess and skills with expedient comprehension of human body mechanics.


Why Choose Jiu-Jitsu?

Studies have shown that, overall, there are many benefits of practicing martial arts. In addition to the obvious improvement in physical fitness, these disciplines can improve one’s mental strength and much more. There are also additional benefits specific to jiu-jitsu.

Those who practice multiple forms of martial arts will know that jiu-jitsu can be more physically demanding than others. This is due to the intense nature of grappling, which requires you to overpower your opponent. A typical session will challenge a student’s cardiovascular abilities, strength, and endurance. During practice, students also must learn how to fall, since jiu-jitsu frequently requires students to throw, sweep, and trip one another. Learning to fall without injuring oneself is a valuable skill and applicable to everyday life.

Because jiu-jitsu requires students to thoroughly understand the body and apply that knowledge during a fight with an opponent, those who practice jiu-jitsu are able to heighten mental strength, memory, and brain function. More importantly, students of the art are forced to develop and execute immediate analytical skills, when confronted with the techniques of their opponents.

Since jiu-jitsu also requires immense focus, it can be an effective way to relieve stress. Forcing you to remove daily pressures from your mentality and focus on the task at hand, the mat is a great place to release pent-up frustration. Yet, since jiu-jitsu is practiced only for self-defense or strictly for competition, students are required to manage their emotions in order to fight only when necessary and according to the rules of jiu-jitsu.


Finding the Right Fit

As jiu-jitsu has grown in popularity across North America, many new schools have popped up in cities large and small. It’s important that you find the right school before committing to learning jiu-jitsu. Try out a few introductory classes to see which learning environment you or your child like best. Pay attention to the quality and quantity of instructors; you want to make sure each student will have some one-on-one time with the instructor and that he or she is properly qualified.

Sparring is a key piece in jiu-jitsu, particularly when it comes to offshoots like Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which specializes in competitive practice. In addition to making sure your jiu-jitsu school has great instructors, you also want to see if there are students with whom you can spar. A great way to try a new sport is to explore with a friend, so consider inviting a colleague or family member to your introductory class and starting your martial arts journey together.

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