A lot of readers may be familiar with Ryan Hall. Known within the world of mixed martial arts and jiu-jitsu as the “The Wizard” because of his submission skills, Ryan is also well respected because of his intelligence, his humility, and how quickly he rose to the elite level. In only three years, Ryan went from being a white belt to a serious contender in some of the world’s biggest jiu-jitsu tournaments.
Even during your first jiu-jitsu class, you will hear about the importance of “jiu-jitsu fundamentals” frequently.
Getting to the level of expert in anything requires years of practice and discipline. It is true for anyone who wants to obtain a black belt in jiu-jitsu or become a virtuoso musician. Part of the reason why it takes so long is because learning these skills requires multiple types of knowledge to establish expertise.
At its core, jiu-jitsu is based on two overarching principles: survival and efficiency. Both of these principles inform the strategies and moves of jiu-jitsu, but it should be remembered that efficiency is secondary to survival. Efficiency is the best means of survival, but it can be sacrificed in cases where an explosive movement will bring an end to the fight and ensure survival.
The start of your jiu-jitsu journey is electric. Every time you come to class you will feel as though you’ve learned something brand new. After every session, you will feel more confident and more capable of defending yourself. If you are taking classes to also get back into shape, you will feel yourself getting leaner and stronger. You will recognize that you have more endurance. The rapid rate of change is intoxicating.
Reaching peak performance takes time, effort, and dedication. Anyone who has tried to obtain mastery of any skill, whether it’s a martial art, musical instrument, or professional ability (e.g., surgery), knows that there are no shortcuts to becoming great and that you can only achieve peak performance through a combination of knowledge and practice.
Most people decide to learn a martial art because they want to be able to defend themselves in a real-world fight. Similarly, many parents decide to enroll their children in martial art classes because they want to be sure they have the tools and the confidence to stay safe. Those who start training with the sole goal of entering competitions or becoming a professional fighter are in the minority.
Since so many people take these classes for reasons of safety, it makes sense to ask: What is the best martial art for self-defense?
Training jiu-jitsu is not solely about learning moves and evolving your technique. These are no doubt central elements to becoming better, but making improvements as a fighter also involves conditioning your body to endure the rigors of martial arts. This means strength training, improving your flexibility, cardio workouts, and taking care of yourself outside of the gym—eating clean, avoiding excessive drug and alcohol use, and getting the right amount of rest.
Learning a martial art is a lot like learning how to play an instrument. It takes time and dedication to develop a talent, and people can spend their entire lives refining techniques that they typically learn within the first few months of their training. Constantly performing the same or very similar movements helps to establish muscle memory, but it also allows one to discover subtle variations in these techniques that are then used in a variety of different scenarios.
No one ever wants to hit a plateau when they’re trying to develop a skill. It doesn’t matter if that skill is a martial art like jiu-jitsu or a new language. More than just a pause in progress, the feeling of being in a rut can be deeply frustrating and make training feel like a chore.
Most people start training jiu-jitsu to learn self-defense. As they progress through the program and become more comfortable on the mat, they come to recognize some of the additional benefits beyond just learning moves that can help keep you safe. They may lose a few pounds, feel stronger, sleep better, and become more confident.
Jiu Jitsu is not necessarily hard to learn, but it does require dedication and effort. It involves complex techniques that require practice to master, and the sport can be physically demanding. However, with the right approach, anyone can learn Jiu Jitsu. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Jiu-Jitsu, is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. It is a highly effective form of self-defense, and is also a great form of exercise and a way to develop strength, flexibility, and discipline.
Conditioning does not always get the attention it deserves in jiu-jitsu classes. As Firas Zahabi of Tristar Gym in Montreal notes in the below video, a lot of jiu-jitsu gyms keep their classes to an hour, spending half an hour on technique, and then half an hour rolling. For Firas, this is problematic because he feels that you cannot be a successful fighter without conditioning.
Getting to your blue belt in jiu-jitsu is a major achievement. Going from a beginner’s level to intermediate shows that you can dedicate yourself to goals and make a serious commitment. This is not very common. Only around 10% of people who start training jiu-jitsu are awarded their blue belts.