Why indeed. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is rough. It hurts. The objective is to take your opponent to the ground, establish control by grinding your weight into them, and then finish the fight by cutting off the flow of blood to their brain or twisting one of their joints to the breaking point. And doing it before they do the same thing to you. It can be the most frustrating experience you could imagine… sweeps, escapes and submission techniques won’t work unless you do them exactly right, and – if your opponent knows the counters – sometimes not even then.
So what drives people to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu? To put up with being thrown, choked, sweated on, and having their joints bent in unnatural ways? To endure torn knee ligaments, broken fingers and toes, crushed egos, black eyes, cracked ribs, pinched nerves, sprained ankles, pulled muscles, and dislocated shoulders?
Everyone’s going to give a different answer, but off the top of my head, here are a few things that do it for me:
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu has been tested and proven in the real world.
- It’s a workout for your body and your mind.
- With multiple entries for every submission technique, multiple counters to every submission, and multiple recounters to every counter, there’s enough to keep you busy for life.
- Helio Gracie trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu every day until he was 95 years old.
- The feeling of hitting a perfect sweep.
- It separates the toughguys from the tough guys (and girls).
- No matter how good you are, there’s always someone who can make you feel like a beginner.
- It’s a worldwide brotherhood/sisterhood. You can find somewhere to train in almost any country, whether you speak the language or not.
- It’s beyond fun.
- Taking down, dismantling, and submitting someone who’s 30 pounds bigger than you is a cool feeling.
- Getting destroyed by an opponent who you outweigh by 30 pounds keeps your ego in check.
- You’re never more honest than when you’re trying to stop someone from choking you unconscious.