3 Reasons Why Playing Jiu-Jitsu Is The Best Way to Learn Self-Defense
We're called Jiu-Jitsu Players for a reason. It's because we "play" our sport much more than we "practice" or "train" it. Sometimes we play Open Guard, sometimes we play Closed Guard, sometimes we experiment with playing Half Guard or even Side Control Bottom. But at the end of the day, what we're engaging in is a friendly game of "you attack, I defend", and vice versa.
1. Play is The Most Powerful Way To Learn
A Study just published in May, 2019 affirms the power of play to boost creativity, learning, and development in children. When we engage in play, positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin. These chemical changes not only make us feel good. They also improve our memory and ability to learn. As described in more detail in The Happiness Advantage, happiness (and by inference, play) is one of the greatest fuels for learning and success.
When we engage in play, positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin. These chemical changes not only make us feel good. They also improve our memory and ability to learn.
2. Play Fighting May Be Safer Than Punching Air
Do you know what forms are? It's those movements that some martial artists do where they punch and kick the air, in order to refine their techniques. Now, there's nothing wrong with doing forms, and I myself find them very helpful, especially when warming up. However, in the long run, if that's *all* you do, and you never spar or "play" fight with a partner, you will never get a feel for what a real fight may be like. You'll never get a feel for the "aliveness" of your art, which is the real proof of its usefulness and applicability. You will be much less safe, walking around thinking that you know what to do, after having punched a lot of air, than you will after having actually rolled around on the mat and tested yourself against someone else.
3. Play Keeps You Coming Back
The best exercise routine is the one you keep doing. It's the same with Martial Arts. If you don't enjoy what you're doing; if it's a grind; if you keep getting hurt, you're not going to continue. Jiu-Jitsu players become so good because they become nearly addicted to the game of Jiu-Jitsu, with its unique mix of complex technique and regular adrenaline dumps. They keep coming back, week after week, year after year, always working to improve their game. Myself, I've been at it 15 years, and I feel like I'm just getting started.