The Health Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

By Carlos A. Reyes | BJJ Instructor & Physical Trainer Graduate

Rilion Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Association

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was created back in the 1920’s when Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo Master Mitsuyo Maeda shared his knowledge to Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr. The Gracie’s created a self- defense system that would rock the martial arts world later on in the 1990’s when Royce Gracie became 3 times Ultimate Fighting Champion, winning over much heavier opponents and from varied martial arts background. Today, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a worldwide martial art, led by thousands of black belts and schools with no signs of slowing in growth. Considering its growth in popularity as a highly competitive sport and the number of tournaments all around the world, the possibility of it becoming an Olympic sport is high.

But, is that only what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all about? No. This incredible art has so many benefits besides showing you how to defend yourself versus a much stronger person. It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, male or female, anybody can do it. Even a person that has back or other injuries has felt comfortable practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; this is the beauty of it.

Now let’s talk about the health benefit that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can offer you towards some of our body systems. Benefits that are priceless and money really invested. Don’t worry, I’ll be really brief and not get technical with the science aspect of each system.

1- Cardiovascular System:

The cardiovascular system function is to pass nutrients, hormones, blood cells and to fight diseases, stabilize body temperature and ph, etc., but how can BJJ improve and maintain this system healthy? When you get involved in an exercise regimen like Jiu-Jitsu, this elevates your heart rate by 25-30% of your MHR (maximum heart rate), results? Your heart pumps more blood resulting in a more efficient organ and gets stronger, arteries become more elastic and efficient. High blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL) decreases and good cholesterol (HDL) increases.

2- Endocrine System:

This system regulates all type of body hormones levels. BJJ can increase the release of endorphins, which improves the mood and induces the feeling of calmness. BJJ can be a natural remedy for andropause and low libido because vigorous exercise increases testosterone levels in men and for those who are looking to lose weight, it increases thyroxin which will elevate your metabolism and your body will be like a fat burning machine even in your sleep. Exercise also regulates insulin in the blood, and lessens the incidence of type-2 diabetes.

3- Respiratory System:

It consists of the lungs and bronchial tubes. It purifies and oxygenates the blood carrying oxygen throughout your body. Every time you are rolling on the mat you are improving lung capacity, this means more oxygen to the cells and faster recuperation. People with asthma condition seem to benefit from BJJ.

4- Musculo-Skeletal System:

When we age the body tend to lose muscle mass and bone density. It is recommended for elderly people to get involved in any kind of exercise. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great because it utilizes all the muscles from the body through a pulling and pushing mechanism that will activate muscle fibers resulting in an increase or maintenance in muscle mass. Evidence is also shown that vigorous exercise like in BJJ can increase bone density by retaining calcium in the bones, therefore lowering the risk of osteoporosis in woman and men. It is important to know that not all physical activities will cause this effect. The physical activity should be a pull or push movement mechanism that involves a specific level of strength and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu meets those requirements.

These are the major body systems that you can maintain in optimum condition while practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There are many other benefits like self-defense, flexibility, self-esteem, self-confidence, happiness, socialization, fellowship, stress free, and much more. Our body is really important to be in optimum condition because it helps us with our daily lives. Without health you can’t really do much. That’s why you have to pick up your calendar, make some changes or arrangements, write down the priorities and make Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu one of your daily activities, you will not regret it.