What Is The Purpose Of Jiu Jitsu?
Whether we practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for self-defense, sport, or some other reason – we all share the intention of becoming more skilled. However, greater technical proficiency is not the ultimate purpose of Jiu Jitsu – the techniques are the means of achieving something greater.
What the Masters Say:
“My father was a naturalist and a very spiritual person, who had a great desire to pass on his knowledge to others, so that they could receive the benefits of Jiu Jitsu as well. Growing up in this environment, I learned the art of Jiu Jitsu is actually a method through which one strives for self-perfection.” – Carlos Gracie Jr.
Strengthening Our Fundamental Capacities.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a unique activity because of the high demands it places on many of our fundamental human capacities. Character, logic, creativity, adaptability, problem solving, self control, strength, endurance, persistence, flexibility, dexterity, fitness and more are tested, stretched and strengthened by long term Jiu Jitsu practice.
When we make use of these capacities they naturally become stronger. Conversely, these same fundamental capacities will break down from a lack of use.
By making use of the full range of human ability, and giving us a clear assessment of our strengths and weaknesses, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu provides an excellent platform from which to improve one’s self.
What Are The Results?
So what specifically are the results or benefits that are traditionally associated with Jiu Jitsu practice? Regardless of why else we might train, we all have an innate desire to improve ourselves. What does it look like to improve one’s self by practicing Jiu Jitsu?
- Increased Mental and Moral Power.
- Increased Strength and Fitness.
- Improved Lifestyle and Habits.
Increased Mental and Moral Power. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can affect our mental process, how we see life, our confidence in our selves, and our ability to implement positive change. It develops moral virtues such as courage, respect and honor – while decreasing our stress, worry and insecurities. It enables us to understand ourselves better, and increase our level of self-awareness. It teaches us to be adaptable and relax under pressure. It enhances our ability to focus and increases our presence of mind.
Increased Strength and Fitness. Jiu Jitsu equips us with powerful techniques that enable us to defend ourselves in a manner that can be violent or non-violent. Jiu Jitsu improves us physically by increasing strength, flexibility, dexterity, endurance, coordination, and overall command of our body. Plus it is a lot of fun to be able to move with accuracy, fluidity and purpose. Jiu Jitsu turns self-defense into a method of self-perfection.
Improved Lifestyle and Habits. Jiu Jitsu is a “study in living.” It can guide us along a path to a healthier lifestyle, and more efficient use of our energy in all realms of our life. See Jiu Jitsu is a High Leverage Habit.
Jiu Jitsu is More Than Techniques.
Jiu Jitsu goes well beyond the techniques that comprise it. Time on the mat can serve as a template or microcosm for real life. The benefits of training translate exceptionally well to our lives off of the mat – it can positively impact how we think, sense, feel and act.
Confusing The Means With The End.
Focusing exclusively on the sporting or fighting aspects of Jiu Jitsu may cause us to lose sight of its bigger purpose. In other words, we are at risk of confusing the end result (striving for self perfection) with the means of achieving it (the practice of Jiu Jitsu.) When we confuse the means with the end, we put a lid on the potential benefits we can receive.
The human mind has a tendency to confuse the desired result with the means of achieving it. When we mistake the means for the endpoint, we are at risk of losing sight of the original desired result. We may settle for a result other than the one that is truly important to us.
Beginning With the End in Mind.
What is the ultimate goal that can be achieved from our training? This is a critical question because the answer will inform why we train – and will clarify the results we hope to achieve.
The second habit in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People is “Begin With The End In Mind.”
If we have the endpoint in mind, we are much less likely to confuse the end result with the means of achieving it. The end goal we set up will define the direction and scope of our training. In other words, our expectations will directly influence our results.
Jiu Jitsu has existed in many places, and meant many things to many people. It is important to know what it means to you. The answer will directly impact the actions we take, and the results we will receive.
If we do not really know why we train, or we are training for the wrong reasons, we will probably not be training for a lifetime. On the other hand, when we have a clear destination, our journey becomes easier and more rewarding.
Frustrated with your practice? The process of learning Jiu Jitsu, pushing thru limits, and strengthening the mind and the body can be very challenging. Remind yourself to step back and look at the big picture – the end goal. Ask yourself, “what am I trying to achieve and why?” If you have a big enough reason, it is easy to find the motivation to continue. The big picture, or your “why?” can keep you motivated during times of difficulty or frustration. Always remember that there’s a deeper reason why we choose to train Jiu Jitsu. What is that “why?” for you?
There is more to Jiu Jitsu than chokes, joint locks, pins and takedowns. In fact, the greatest benefits of Jiu Jitsu occur off of the mat. Jiu Jitsu improves our lives. It can make us fitter, smarter and happier.
Jiu Jitsu builds up the many facets of our being, without diminishing us in any way. It simultaneously equips us with the skill to defend our self or another. This makes Jiu Jitsu a supremely practical endeavor.
The greatest benefits of Jiu Jitsu result from utilizing the art as a means to self-knowledge and “a method through which one strives for self-perfection.”
“The purpose of the study of judo is to perfect yourself and to contribute to society. “ – Jigoro Kano