Resiliency: A Core Aspect of Jiu-Jitsu

How Jiu-Jitsu and resiliency are one on the mats

Location: U.S.

There is a lot of debate on what it takes to be good at Jiu-Jitsu and what attributes it takes to be successful at it. I think almost everyone can agree that the fundamentals of Jiu-Jitsu won’t change regardless of whether your focus is competition, self-defense, or mixed martial arts (MMA). No matter what your focus is, I don’t think you can mention Jiu-Jitsu and bring up the importance of being resilient. Resiliency is one of those intangible aspects you develop that follows you through life and benefits you in a myriad of different areas.

I see resiliency as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. This means that regardless of why a person began training Jiu-Jitsu, their ability to recover and return to training with a clear mind and healthy body is essential. Being resilient means attending more classes, which means more technique, which means more drills, which means more rounds which inevitably means you get better.

Photo by Simone Pellegrini

Many intrinsic traits come with the art of Jiu-Jitsu, such as being humble, showing respect, being a good training partner, and being an ambassador for your academy. In the digital era, we see how these aspects of Jiu-Jitsu can become discarded in the pursuit to be a great fighter and/or competitor, which is a topic I plan to address in a later article. The question I pose to you is: Can you name a top competitor or fighter who isn’t resilient?

Anyone who has trained in Jiu-Jitsu for any length of time knows all about injuries, training when you should recover, rolling too hard, and the conflict felt between work, family, and training. Just about any Professor is going to give you the “balance” talk. But, most instructors do not teach you the art and science of being resilient.

Resiliency on the mats can also be synonymous with building mental and physical resiliency in life. Think about your first few weeks of training Jiu-Jitsu, when it sucked being on the bottom under pressure, when you walked right into a submission from closed guard, and when you were scared to start on your feet because your wrestling and judo was still new. Wherever you are in your journey, it was your resiliency that made you not give up and come back for more.

As the art of Jiu-Jitsu becomes more prevalent, the different modalities of resiliency seem to become more and more widespread in the art. It is not uncommon to see fitness institutions that also offer Jiu-Jitsu training.

Also, on the reverse side of it, you see a lot more Jiu-Jitsu academies offering yoga and instructors utilizing breathwork and other modes of managing your mindset while training. One of the many benefits we get from this digital age is exposure to things like yoga, cold water therapy, breathwork, the benefits of strength and conditioning, and how we can extrapolate the bits and pieces of our training to make us more resilient.

There are many techniques and tools available to make you better at Jiu-Jitsu but more importantly, on this pillar, are you using them to become more resilient?

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