When you discuss the psychology of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you have two options. There’s a lot of talk about the mental and emotional benefits afforded when taking up the sport of BJJ, but also the mental attitude it takes to win a match. Both of these intertwine, so they’ll both be included in this discussion. BJJ requires mental discipline, which is not only a psychological benefit, it’s also an attitude that helps win honors.
Small successes lead to big ones in BJJ.
I’ve been part of the sport for long enough to see huge men sign up and want to take on others in a match immediately. They get what they want, but often not with the results they expect. You see, it’s not all about strength and size. It’s about the ability for someone smaller in stature to take on someone who’s bigger, stronger and more aggressive. It’s done with leverage, positioning and grip. It’s all about sizing up your opponent and immediately identifying his or her next move, preparing a counteraction to subdue and control them. Size doesn’t matter here, but knowledge and trust in your instincts do.
You learn to control your mental state and find what works for you to win.
This is both an attribute that will help you win matches and succeed in life. It’s not easy. It also may not remain the same throughout your years of practice and competitions. Finding your optimal state of arousal is important. Some people find that getting primed on anger helps them win, as long as they also can maintain focus. Others find that meditation before a match helps tremendously. Having a clear head and focusing on technique and performing well during the match is the key, not winning or losing.
You build your self-esteem with BJJ and improve your confidence.
This is one of the psychological benefits you get with BJJ. It starts the day you have your first match, which can be the first day of training. You’re constantly being tested and with hard work, will come out victorious. That’s a huge confidence builder. You’re also learning to be more observant, finding which techniques and tools provided by the training that match your body build and and even your opponents build.
- BJJ can make you feel safer. Not only are you learning to identify danger through improved observation skills, you’re learning you can defend yourself against others far bigger.
- Psychological benefits come from the constant contact of the opponent in BJJ. It triggers the release of neurochemicals in the brain that help create a sense of connection, focus and awareness.
- You’ll learn mindfulness when you practice BJJ. That helps you focus on the here and now in everyday life.
- You get all the mental benefits you’d derive from any intense exercise, which includes the release of BDNF—Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which can leave you more focused, energetic and even happier the rest of the day.