Why is Jiu-Jitsu best? Top reasons to train BJJ above other Martial Arts

Although training in any style of Martial Arts may be beneficial Jiu-Jitsu is by far the best. This advice is of course coming from a lifelong Martial Artist that has experienced multiple types of training throughout the years. So what led to this ultimate declaration and why does it matter? Finding Truth in any facet of life is emancipating and transformative and something to gift back so that hopefully someone else will get to gain from the many lessons it took to receive this knowledge. 




1.) Self Defense . . . without having to punch or kick 

It’s not that Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t incorporate and utilize striking, it just does it in the most efficient, logical way possible. By using open palm strikes we greatly minimize the risk of damage to our fragile hand bones. And more importantly Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t rely on strikes alone. They are in addition to, used sparingly and to get to an end point – the submission via a joint lock or choke. There are varying degrees to which you can choose to defend yourself. Unlike a punch or kick that must be administered at full force to possibly be effective, using Jiu-Jitsu you are able to control your level of force. It is much more humane to have someone pass out for 10 seconds from a choke than to have beaten someones’ face in. Jiu-Jitsu is not life threatening like resorting to shooting someone and then having to try to emotionally deal with that for the rest of your life. Jiu-Jitsu translates to ‘The Gentle Art’ meaning it’s not based on power and strength. Rather, timing, leverage and technique which means that it is truly designed for a smaller, weaker individual who is being attacked. It also addresses how to handle a situation from yes standing, but also on the ground! 



BJJ Ranking system


2.) The BJJ ranking system

Jiu-Jitsu has a unique, logical ranking system compared to some styles of Martial Arts. All youth 16 years and below are kept in Children’s belts. This matters since we’re dealing with joint locks and chokes that require emotionally maturity. There is something to be said about not receiving instant gratification by paying off a business to become a 10 year old black belt. We’re teaching our kids and ourselves that hard work is okay and ultimately that we’re worth all the time and energy we put into this.  Each belt has four stripes before the next rank is given. There is no such thing as attitude or attendance stickers on belts for kids unless constructed by a certain franchise but not recognized by the IBJJF (International Brazilian jiu-jitsu Federation) or around the world by other academies. Comparing an eight year old black black belt or 12 year old second degree ‘Master’ to an adult Jiu-Jitsu black belt is really no comparison at all. There is no rank for No Gi (training without the uniform). There is no ranking system for MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Notice how there are only four main belts in the Adult ranks. If you are training at a school that gives out other adult colored belts, belts with stripes down the middle, or anything else it is completely made up. There is no such thing as a pink belt, it is a marketing scheme. Any female is just as capable of receiving real, true rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. An adult yellow belt instead of one stripe on your white belt (orange belt instead of 2 stripes, etc.) is based solely on attendance, often not authentic progression and for monetary and retention purposes. 


3.) The Jiu-Jitsu workout 

There is nothing that compares to the exercise you receive grappling in Jiu-Jitsu. It is cardio and strength training while under intense pressure. With over 1,000 calories burnt each class it definitely beats the gym or other workouts. It’s unique since it works all areas of the body, it’s not isolated to toning one part of the body. Your goal is not to be the best at exercising. It goes soo much deeper than squats and dead lifts. You get a flexible spine and a crazy strong core.  You could be a star student or the CEO getting millions of dollars and none of that will matter if your life is cut short or filled with obesity and health problems due to inactivity. Working the mind means engaging the body and Jiu-Jitsu combines the two flawlessly. 



OSS Living the Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle


4.) Living the Lifestyle 

One of the best benefits of training is taking it off the mats. The real reason for the couple of hours a week of work in the school is to enhance your daily life. Waking up to meditation, gratitude and a healthy mindset propels you into a guaranteed good day, no matter what comes along. Jiu-Jitsu teaches you how to incorporate what you learn during class to the lessons we face everyday. You gain confidence, calmness and clarity that serves you in all areas of life. 


6.) The Mental Benefits (especially for ADD, ADHD, Alzheimer’s) 

Exercise is vital at every age. It’s something that is imperative to have throughout life and not be sporadic, stopped over and over and started again and again. When you workout your body you’re simultaneously building up brain power. You become sharper and smarter while maintaining a positive outlook. It allows you to go deepen than physical gains and a built body with purposeless muscle. 



Creative Brain


5.) Limitless creativity

Not like other ‘dead’ Martial Arts Jiu-Jitsu is evergreen, always growing. Your black belt is truly only the beginning as you continually explore, evolve, and experiment your style. There is nothing holding you back, confining your personality, forcing rigid movements that must be mimicked verbatim. You’ll never be bored by robotic, mundane forms where the only real excitement is in how loud you can yell or grunt during each move. Each roll is different, every time with everyone. How fun is that?!


Happiness through Jiu-Jitsu


7.) The Emotional Benefits 

It’s empowering to know that you’re a master problem solver. Jiu-Jitsu gifts you with a special kind of resilience. With every grappling match you start to understand and overcome any inner voice that may have stopped you before. Everyone has challenges in life that can cause major anxiety and pent up energy if we don’t have a healthy outlet to release it. Stress perceived as life threatening is just that, lethal! Feel depressed? Instead of taking pills you can take a Jiu-Jitsu class which is a magic cure all in and of itself! Having trouble sleeping at night? Not with BJJ! It’s an amazing way to unwind and leave the rest of the world behind putting your body in a ‘rest and digest’ mode. 


8.) The Relationships….especially the one with yourself 

As great as it can be to have lots of cool people to hang out with there is nothing like being your own best friend. Jiu-Jitsu teaches you how to take good care of yourself on all levels. Finding true happiness and inner peace is priceless. You can fill your life with busy and never get to the root of what drives you. BJJ brings out that passion to create  whole health wealth. 

Motivation Hacks for Jiu-Jitsu Tips & Tricks to stay inspired in your BJJ Training

Motivation Hacks for Jiu-Jitsu 

Tips & Tricks to stay inspired in your BJJ Training 


Staying engaged in Martial Arts takes discipline. It’s not always going to be easy. There will be times where you don’t feel like it. Yet letting our laziness, hectic schedule, or insecurity get the best of us will never result in what you truly want – the end goal of being a black belt, which is really just the beginning. Be sure to stay in touch through all of our social media sites @FLOLifeBJJ @BJJAfter40 and see you on the mats! 



Origin Maine Gi*Dress The Part 

Make sure you have what you need for training. A raggy old t-shirt isn’t going to cut it for long term training. It’s worth the investment to build up an arsenal to get you through the toughest classes. This includes a quality gi that you love, rash guards (yes, you need more than one), bottoms that facilitate 360 degree movement and whatever else you personally prefer to make Jiu-Jitsu a pleasurable experience. 


*Try the Buddy System 

Doing it alone is unnecessary and not nearly as fun! No matter what your personality, there is someone just your style that you can count on to meet you for class, drill with, or challenge you when needed. This is a two way relationship so you can offer support when they might need it too. Text to coordinate classes, talk about your favorite Jiu-Jitsu moves, and have a homie who gets it! 


images-4*Reward Yourself 

It’s important to acknowledge that you’re doing something really valuable with your time and healthy for your mind, body and spirit. When we’re young it’s stickers and high fives, now as an adult you need to give yourself those same dopamine releases. Celebrate a stripe with a delicious dinner or your next belt with a new gi. Giving yourself incentive to have positive energy outlets will only help encourage your subconscious to stay on the path towards your best self. 


*Set The Stage 

You have to prepare yourself for class. Just like it’s your job, take it seriously. Try to get a good night of sleep. Wake up with the intention that no matter how your day goes you’ll have Jiu-Jitsu to help you feel great. Make sure to bring a water bottle to training! Wash your workout wear (and gi) after every session. Being proactive in preparing will pump you up for BJJ, not drag you into more to do’s. 



The Jiu-Jitsu Planner
*Write it Down 

Having a Jiu-Jitsu journal is a true game changer! It’s a way to solidify and expedite the learning process, no to mention cool to look back on further down the road. Spending a minimal amount of time after class to take notes will provide maximum results. This is beneficial for any belt rank and a must when you’re ready to retain what you were taught. Have a pen/pencil handy and keep your notebook in your BJJ bag. You’ll notice a difference within weeks of writing everything down. 


*Let it be Known 

Put it out there. Whether it’s telling your spouse, social media or a pet, find anyone to share with. It’s the first step in anything becoming really real. Don’t be timid about this either. Dream big and often. Seek out the supporters who will cheer you on, especially when you’re not feeling too secure with your training. The only way people can be there for you is if you have enough bravery to trust them with your personal objectives. 


*Give yourself A Goal 

Nobody else is going to do this for you. They don’t have the power. Only you know what is worthy. This is such an individual thing. For some it may be competition, others may strive for a certain number of classes per week. There is no goal too small so just start somewhere and like a staircase build up. Don’t compare what other people aim for just focus on yourself and each step to get you closer. Time goes by anyway, you may as well get everything you want! 



Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
Mike ‘Spider Ninja’ Bidwell

*Look Toward Others 

Give yourself some much needed motivation by mimicking someone who has what you’d like. What did they do to get where they wanted to go? What are their current ways of living the life you’d like to create? Notice how every journey is different and each success story is filled with setbacks and obstacles that had to be overcome. If they can do it, you can do it too! 


*Do it Anyway

Spoiler alert: You’re going to question why you’re doing this at times, you’re not always going to want to go to class after a long, hard day. These are the exact pivotal moments that will retrain your brain to benefit your wellbeing. By getting it done and going after it no matter what it manifests an unstoppable ‘You’! Think of looking towards others, we all go through valleys. The point isn’t to reside there, it’s to keep climbing so you reach the peak!  



Jiu-Jitsu Clock

*Incorporate it into your Daily routine 

Just like you brush your teeth daily it’s no different to add physical activity to your list. Everyday you exercise it increases your energy, makes you feel great and decreases your chance of illness. You don’t realize how much it impacts you until you don’t have it in your life. Don’t get to the point where you have to always be making a comeback. When you workout regularly it becomes part of a lifestyle, not a random happening. 


*Set an Alarm, put it in your Calendar 

Take advantage of technology or go old school by posting notes. However you accomplish it, set it in stone that you’re making training a priority. Setting a schedule will allow you to see how it truly does fit into any life, regardless of how rigorous it is. If it’s out of sight then out of mind and too easily days turn into weeks and quite suddenly you haven’t trained in a while. As humbling as Jiu-Jitsu is, it’s 10x worse when you’re making you’re back to repping that rank. 



*Listen To Music while Getting ready

Music is magical for getting you stoked about anything you’re doing. Listen to upbeat songs, nothing dreary and bleak. It’s fun to listen to your favorites while your driving or transitioning into Jiu-Jitsu mode. Have your very own set of tunes for knocking out a daily home stretch and exercise session. You can make an after playlist too that will facilitate in the winding process to jump start your relaxing and recovering. 


*Try different 

Switch it up anyway possible. Maybe that means a new training day. If you always attend day classes opt for a night or weekend time. If you can only make certain days then adjust who you roll with. Don’t be biased here, you need to to learn how to grapple with everyone. Make it a game by only working a specific tactic or focus on one main position. Jiu-Jitsu is limitless and so is your potential. Get to know another side of yourself! 


*Schedule a Private Lesson

There is nothing better than getting your instructor all to yourself! Having their full attention will let them see where your excelling and what needs work. They can offer their years worth of experience and knowledge and make huge shifts in just one session. Be mindful that you pay for what you get so don’t skimp and search for discounted deals when it comes to your future.

Making your BJJ (and life) transitions smooth


We all know that the Jiu-Jitsu journey can be difficult.  This is especially true when you throw in jobs, school, family, kids…etc. This part won’t go away.  The kids, jobs, schools responsibilities will never fully disappear.  Why not embrace the “struggle” and enhance these experiences via your BJJ practice.  When you’re getting to class and releasing stress and anxiety everything feels better.  When you set things in motion for a consistent training regime… BJJ WILL feel like the magic elixir.  But when you’re resisting the “struggle” and making Jiu-Jitsu another “thing” you have to do… it too will be stressful.   But remember that your BJJ practice is here to help support your mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Good Jiu-Jitsu is about good transitions.  In other words, in a grappling match you have to successfully move from one position to another to secure a submission. But if your movements are unplanned, sloppy and incoherent you’ll probably lose your position and perhaps get submitted.  But when you plan, coordinate body parts and stay focused, the outcome is surely better.

On the mats it looks like this:  Initial set up, transition, improve position, lock in a submission.

Off the mats:   Initial set up – Plan out your training week by scheduling your classes on a physical calendar.

Transition – Have everything ready in advance (clean gi, training clothes, gear/ water etc.)

Position:  Through proper planning you have now set yourself up for success!

Submission:  Now you reap the rewards of coming to class.  (Great exercise, learning a worthwhile skills, energy release, flexibility, friendships, mental clarity, emotional regulations, etc)

Now get to class (no excuses) -Professor Mike