In this article discussing the life-changing benefits of training Brazilian jiu jitsu, we’ll talk about how the Gentle Art teaches us to stay calm under pressure, both on the mats and in daily life.
We all have moments of intense stress. Terrible morning traffic, a tight deadline at work, anxiety about a family issue, or being caught in an effective choke in jiu jitsu class. Staying calm in stressful situations takes practice, but it’s something that can be learned. When you apply the stress reduction techniques that you’ve learned as a woman training in combat sports, it offers many benefits you can apply to your daily life.
One of the earliest lessons we are taught in jiu jitsu is to remember to breathe and not hold our breath while training. Amidst the blur of full-throttle sparring, if we control our breathing, we control our natural responses to stress. We think more clearly. We maintain better control of our emotions. We keep our blood pressure from skyrocketing. Imagine the benefits of applying your jiu jitsu breathing techniques to your workday, your family life, and the quality of your free time.
In a combat sports workout, you’re teaching your brain to stay focused in the moment – the moment that’s dripping sweat in your face and pressing a knee into your rib cage. It’s impossible to worry about a deadline at work or the conflict you’re having with your neighbor when someone’s trying to bend your arm the wrong way. A benefit of jiu jitsu classes is that they teach us to not dwell on the past or worry about the future. We develop the excellent habit of mindfulness – taking life one moment at a time, as it comes. Jiu jitsu also helps us when life presents unexpected twists and turns. We learn from jiu jitsu that we can navigate a situation calmly. Our opposition presents an attack, but we know what to do next. In our self-defense training, we learn answers to the problems presented. We’ve drilled them hundreds of times in class. When we have the confidence from jiu jitsu to handle anything that comes our way, it rolls over into our daily life, which can help keep us calm and in control in most any situation.
Practicing jiu jitsu means applying technique and acting with precision. We learn that no matter the pressure, we can work our way out of difficult situations. And knowing that is an invaluable benefit in real life. In training, we have survived simulated near-death experiences over and over again. We can even inflict a fair share of “simulations” ourselves! So how much less stressful is dealing with a long wait at the doctor’s office, or a rude driver, or toxic colleagues who are trying to throw you under the bus in front of your boss? Those situations are practically laughable – just a few pixels on the Screen of You – because you’ve already handled much worse in jiu jitsu and survived it.The holy grail of jiu jitsu is how it changes us to make life better as a whole. The skills learned and the experiences we have on the mats build humility, confidence, and success over time. Learning to stay calm under pressure – first on the mats, then applying it throughout our lives – is one of the greatest benefits of training the Gentle Art over the long-term.
Has practicing the martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu helped you remain calm under pressure in your life off the mats? Think how life could change for someone else who has never trained, if they learned to stay calm under pressure.
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Photo Credits: Snow MMA
The Dainty Grappler is a four-stripe white belt who began her jiu jitsu journey in January 2017 in the Dallas / Fort Worth area under elite Alliance black belt Samuel Snow. She has a marketing background and earned a bachelor’s in writing at TCU. In addition to her passion for Brazilian jiu jitsu, she enjoys art museums, nature walks, and sports photography.