St. Paul Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy

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How BJJ and Martial Arts Classes Will Help You

How BJJ and Martial Arts Classes Will Help You

Maybe you've heard that BJJ and Martial Arts classes will help you reach your new goals. It's that time of year again! We've all put on a little Christmas weight. We counted backwards from 10 as we watched the ball drop, and we've soared into another new year. And of course along with a new year, comes another chance to make your New Year's Resolutions. Hopefully you have already done that by now (Especially if your resolution was to procrastinate less). I'm sure you've heard this before and already know that most people abandon their New Years Resolution within a month or less. There are steps you can take to help you succeed in sticking to your new habits and meet your goals, and I will talk about those methods in another blog. Today, I am going to tell you that, even without knowing what your specific resolution is, taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes is likely to help you meet and even surpass your New Years Resolutions.

First, lets identify some of the most common New Years Resolutions that are out there. According to http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,2040218,00.html , the top 10 most common resolutions that are made and immediately broken are as follows:

  1. Lose Weight and Get Fit
  2. Quit Smoking
  3. Learn Something New
  4. Eat Healthier and Diet
  5. Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  6. Spend More Time with Family
  7. Travel to New Places
  8. Be Less Stressed
  9. Volunteer
  10. Drink Less

Since these are the 10 most common New Year's Resolutions, it is highly likely that you New Year's resolution (perhaps multiple ones) are found on this list. I am going to break down each one of these resolutions and show you how by starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you can finally stick to your Resolution this year!

Resolution #1: Lose Weight and Get Fit

This is the most common New Years Resolution out there, and is one of the most common benefits people are looking for when they start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. BJJ classes involve a lot of movement, hard work, and sweat. During your first class, you are likely to become exhausted, but that's ok because that's exactly what your resolution is. You want to engage in an activity that will tire you out, and you want to do it often enough that you don't become as tired when you engage in that activity. That is exactly what BJJ can do for you. As quickly as two weeks into BJJ classes, you will notice that your cardio and endurance are already starting to improve. And of course, you can watch those pounds fall off as you do it. With of the hard work involved in warm ups, drilling, and live grappling, losing weight is almost a guarantee, and you can do it without the monotony of running in place on a treadmill staring at TV screen that is mounted on a wall and likely showing some show you have absolutely no interest in. So find a BJJ school and watch your weight fall off!

Resolution #2: Quit Smoking

You may be curious as to how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes can help you quit smoking, and to help you understand, I'll pose this simple question. What is one big factor that many people smoke? (or drink or use drugs.) There have been studies that link substance abuse with boredom. For more information on this study, you can look up the "Rat Park Heroine Experiment." If you're not interested in reading it, I'll spoil the ending. The main cause of addiction seems to be boredom. If people have nothing to do, they fall back on their vices to kill time and to entertain themselves. By taking up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you will be physically and mentally stimulated and likely even overwhelmed at first. With the physical activity, the mental stimulation (whether on the mat or reviewing the techniques you learned in your head while working the next day), and the discipline that BJJ and martial arts develops, it is likely that BJJ will assist you in quitting smoking more than any gum, patch, or other crutch ever could.

Resolution #3: Learn Something New

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, you are going to learn several new things. You will learn how to defend yourself. You will likely learn the sport rules associated with the martial art. You will learn about the Jiu Jitsu Culture. You will learn different nutritional plans other people adopt (see Resolution #4), and you will learn countless other things related to the art. The entire art of BJJ is a learning process from the first day you tie a belt around your waist to the last time you step off the mat. In BJJ, you will never stop learning!

Resolution #4: Eat Healthier and Diet

In Brazilian JIu Jitsu, it is very common to get so caught up in the art that people will alter their diets. Different people have different reasons for altering their diet, but almost everyone who trains in BJJ for any significant amount of time, finds themselves eating cleaner. Some people realize how much energy it takes to train BJJ 3+ times per week. In order to keep up with their new workout habits, they try a new diet. They quickly realize that when they eat cleaner, they feel better, move better, perform better, and recover faster. Many people will couple a tough training regimen with a strict diet to maximize their performance in BJJ. Another common reason BJJ fighers alter their diet is for competition. In BJJ tournaments, there are weight classes. In order to be more competitive in their matches, people may diet to lose some weight to give them the advantage of going against an opponent who is smaller than the opponents they would be matched against had they not taken it upon themselves to lose some weight. If you are feeling physically exhausted from BJJ training, throw some clean chicken breast in the oven and steam some vegetables, and you'll be feeling better and ready for class the next night.

Resolution #5: Get Out of Debt and Save Money

This is another Resolution that you think may be unlikely to happen by joining Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes (because let's face it, BJJ classes cost you money). However, if you couple your new BJJ habits with the goal of saving money, it is certainly likely that you will. Let's go back to Resolution #2: Quitting Smoking. If you join BJJ and successfully quit smoking, you will save a ton of money. In MN, the average cigarette pack will cost you $5.95 (let's round up to $6.00). If you smoke a pack per day, you will be spending roughly $6.00 per day, $180.00 per month, $2160.00 per year on cigarettes! Let's say Jiu Jitsu classes run you an average of $120.00 per month. You have just saved yourself $60.00 per month by starting Jiu Jitsu and using BJJ to assist you in quitting smoking. You can factor in the same kind of math when you think about what you'll save when you drink less alcohol too (See Resolution #10).

Resolution #6: Spend More Time With Family

This one is dependant on if you decide to try BJJ as a family. Many BJJ gyms realize that BJJ classes aren't cheap, and if you are joining BJJ classes as a family, most gyms will offer a family discount. I can't think of a more fun way to spend time with your family than learning a new skill, getting into shape, and having fun together as a family. Learning BJJ together can be a great way for significant others or parents and children to bond and come closer together.

Resolution #7: Travel to New Places

Personally, if it wasn't for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I would've never visited Chicago or Las Angeles. Yes, my love of BJJ was actually the sole reason that I have made it from the midwest all the way out to the West Coast, multiple times in fact. If you begin BJJ and you enjoy competing, it is likely that you may want to participate in some bigger tournaments around the Midwest, United States, or even in other countries. There are also several BJJ practitioners I know who have traveled all the way to Brazil just to train the martial art in the country in which it was founded. Not to mention, even if you are traveling for reasons other than BJJ, you should pack a gi, because every big city in the United States has a Jiu JItsu school, and have reasonable drop-in fees. So pack those bags and start checking out the IBJJF tournament schedule and some gyms you'd like to check out during your vacations!

Resolution #8: Be Less Stressed

This one is a no brainer. Everybody wants less stress in their life: less negative stress anyway. We've all had pent up stress before. The boss puts a deadline on you at work, the manager gives you several daunting tasks, your credit card bill came in the mail, and your kids have been extremely hyper-active in school and at home. All this negatively impacts your relaxation time at home, your sleep schedule, your work productivity, and every other aspect of your life. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is, hands down, the best method of stress relief I've ever found. Exercise in general is good for this. Anything that involves expending energy, making you tired, and making you sweat is a great, healthy way to manage stress. The added stress relieve that BJJ will give you is the expending of your mental energy as well. I often describe BJJ as a puzzle. You have to analyze so many situations and solve the problem that is in front of you whether it's a submission you are stuck in, an inferior position, or trying to mount an attack of your own. This added game within BJJ allows for another form of stress relief that transcends the purely physical exercise and completely engages you cognitively as well.

Resolution #9: Volunteer

There are several volunteer opportunities in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu if that is what you want to do this year for your resolution. Even as a brand new white belt, you can volunteer to help out at BJJ tournament. You can assist with the setting up prior to and tearing down after the tournament. You may volunteer to work the tables by keeping score or keeping track of the time as well. As you progress in your BJJ journey, there will be even more volunteer opportunities. As you advance in your own knowledge of BJJ, you can help out new white belts who come in to try BJJ. If they are struggling to understand or execute a technique, you can take a minute to show them slower or explain to them how to improve the technique they are trying to understand or execute. This pleasant camaraderie is huge to new practitioners. If you volunteer your time to help out a new martial artist, you may be the reason they stay in the classes and don't quit. Then once you have acquired even more knowledge, you can volunteer to teach a beginner's class when your instructor can't make it in. As you get further and further into your journey and deepen your understanding, you'll find that the volunteer opportunities within BJJ are vast and varied, and it is only limited by your imagination.

Resolution #10: Drink Less

The final most common resolution in the Top 10 list is people resolving to drink less alcohol. This is, of course, a worth goal. We are all aware of the adverse effects of alcohol including liver damage, poor decision making, and potential legal issues. It can also become a very expensive habit very quickly. Drinking less would not only help with the health issues, but it could also save you a lot of money (see Resolution #5). Some people also use drinking as way, unhealthy as it may be, of relieving stress. If that's why you drink, you can kill two birds with one stone as BJJ is a fantastic way to relieve stress (See Resolution #8). If one of your goals this year is to drink less, once again, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is near the top of the list in helping you ween yourself off the bottle. Most BJJ schools offer a Friday night class. Of course much of America's alcohol consumption occurs on friday night. If you spend your friday nights on the mat learning BJJ and self defense, it is far less likely that you will go out to the bar that night and spend your hard earned dollars on booze. You will feel the euphoria that occurs post-workout, you will feel more relaxed, and this will significantly diminish the urge to go out and "blow off steam." By putting on your gi, you will also be inclined to screw the top back onto your bottle and put it on the shelf, you won't be needing that stuff anymore.

Now you know how to meet your resolution! Find a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and make it happen!

As you see, regardless of your New Years resolution, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will help you meet it. These are just some of the ways BJJ makes you a better person, and when you start training,  you'll meet many more "resolutions" you didn't even know you had. So now know what to do. The next step is to find a school to train at. I run Brazilian Jiu Jitsu St. Paul in St. Paul, MN, and I would be happy to help you meet your New Years Resolutions, or any other goals you may have regardless of the time of year! If you aren't near St. Paul, just jump on google and as long as you are near at least a somewhat large city, I would guarantee that you can find SOMEONE nearby teaching or practicing the art. So jump on a site, find a school, and give them a call! After you make that call and attend your first class, you'll need to find a way to help yourself stick to your habits so that you follow through on your resolutions instead of being one of the large percentage of people who give up before January even ends. I have some good tips for how to help you stick to you resolutions and that will be discussed in another blog to come. Happy New Year, Everybody!