Who’s smarter, baseball players or football players? Do you think the average intelligence of a tennis player is greater than that of a professional golfer? If a sport has more action, does that mean it take less brains to play?
Answer this question honestly: how much of martial arts do you think is mental, and how much physical? Sometimes we think that the greater the amount of activity in a sport means that less mental power is being expended. We’re happy to say that that’s certainly not true with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; there’s a lot of action and it requires some of the fastest decision-making skills in all of martial arts. In fact, BJJ is the closest thing that closes thing that martial arts has to chess!
Exercising the Mind
“Chess,” you say, “that seems like a stretch.” No at all. Chess is all about making your move and seeing how your opponent responds. Depending on their move, you have to adjust your next move if you want to try to get your plan back on track. You might recognize what they’re going for and be able to counter it, or you might have to change your style of play completely.
The same is true with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You might make the first move and try for a sweep and into a leg switch, but if they catch you and put you on the defensive you’re going to have to immediately change your plan. You might have been thinking four moves ahead, but now you have to either completely change your plan or find some way to get back to the leg switch.
Strengthening the Body
Exercising your mind is the most important aspect of BJJ, but you’ll also want to have a strong body. One of the advantages of BJJ is that it allows a smaller and weaker opponent to overpower a larger one with sweeps and locks. In that case it’s almost always the one who can think faster who’s going to come out on top. But with two opponents who are equal in mind, the stronger one has an advantage in keeping someone in a lock and winning the match.
What we’re saying is, strength doesn’t matter in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu nearly as much as it does in other martial arts, but there times when it’s going to be important. Make sure you lift some weights so that you can be ready for anything.
Another very unique aspect of BJJ is that nearly every fight ends up on the mat. They all start standing up, but 90% of them end up on the ground. Every martial arts requires you to be limber, but if you currently have trouble bending over to pick up a piece of trash from your living room carpet, BJJ is a great way to get limber and stay limber! The more you can stretch, the more moves and combinations you can accomplish.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an excellent way to exercise the mind and body at the same time. Interested in seeing how fast you can move and think? Check out our schedule here and find the right class for you!