Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Worth It? Here’s What You Need to Know
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (which ironically originated in Japan) is a form of Mixed Martial Arts in which two opponents grapple with ground techniques. As with all MMA sports, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a wonderful workout, great fun, and can bring like-minded athletes together in a community setting. Despite all of this, it is known for being an expensive hobby, which leads some people to wonder, is it worth it?
Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu worth it? Here’s what you need to know – It will ultimately depend on your personal goals, time availability, willingness to commit, and budget constraints. Progress might be slow as compared to other sports, so you must be committed for the long-haul to reap the benefits.
Whether it is worth it to you is a question that we cannot answer for you. What we can do is offer you the insights regarding what BJJ is all about, the benefits, the costs involved, and who it is best suited for. After this quick read, you will be able to determine based your own needs if BJJ’s impact merits as ‘worth it’ or not for you.
The Benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Thousands have witnessed the benefits of BJJ and how it allows a fighter to take control of a situation and send an opponent to the ground. Some argue that most street fights end up on the ground anyway, which is the primary reason BJJ is so useful.
The benefits of BJJ include but are not limited to:
- Great for any age, size, gender, height, and skill-level (training for BJJ often starts at 4-years old, and the oldest competitor was 95)
- Increased coordination and balance
- Teaches body awareness
- Increased strength
- Increased patience as this is one of the slower disciplines to improve upon
- Ability to take control without actually hurting your opponent
- Increased strategic thinking (BJJ is known as the ‘game of human chess.’)
- Makes you mentally stronger and more focused
- Teaches you to overcome failure
- Provides a tight-knit community that supports each other
- Assists in weight loss
- Reduces stress
- Reduces cortisol and other harmful hormones
- Teaches the ideal techniques if striking fails you.
- Helps you learn to read your opponent in a new way, especially since size, height, weight, etc. play no significant part. It is about beating your competitor at their own game
- Teaches you self-defense to compete against skilled and unskilled attackers.
- It’s fun!
The Costs Involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
BJJ is not the cheapest sport you can partake in, but every activity comes at a cost when instructors are involved. The cost breakdown of what you can anticipate for yourself or your child as an enrolled student in BJJ training may include but is not limited to:
- Monthly Membership – This can range from $50 per session to $50 per month. Most people will pay closer to $150-250 per month, but this may (or may not) include other MMA disciplines.
- Equipment – Things like BJJ Gi, rash guard, ear guard, mouth guard, knee pads, etc. could cost around $100, probably more if competing professionally, and there will be replacements involved if you stick to BJJ.
- Travel – If competing, you usually won’t have anyone paying for your flights, hotels, transportation, etc., which can add up to thousands of dollars for a family of 3-4 people. Add in the condition under which you may be competing multiple times in a year.
- Healthy Diet and Training – Many BJJ competitors that get serious have to train in other disciplines and workout to maintain their strength. Floor grappling alone is great, but if you are serious about BJJ, you’ll probably need a regular gym (not MMA gym) for training, as well as healthier food.
- Medical – If you are injured or require any medical attention during tournaments, this can range from free to thousands of dollars.
Most people estimate that you should budget around $200-300 per month for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, per person. If you are not financially prepared to compete or get serious, you could probably keep it under $100 per month with a budget-friendly gym and no tournaments or travel.
Who Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is Best For
The expression attached to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is, “BJJ is for everyone.”
When people say this, what they mean is that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is suited to those that are:
- Young – Children are regularly seen in MMA, karate, and BJJ training from an early age.
- Old – Helio Gracie was an active BJJ competitor until age 95.
- Handicapped – Those with amputated limbs have also experienced great success as it is floor grappling focused on your core.
- Healthy – Will get even healthier.
- Athletic – If you are already training in other athletic activities, BJJ can offer an added dynamic of body understanding. It may translate to your other sports and increase your balance, coordination, patience, and skill level.
- Non-athletic – You will gain the same advantages of someone that is athletic but perhaps notice the impact of BJJ as the significantly responsible source.
- Blind – You don’t need sight to be on the ground. It’s a body-intensive workout that you are linked to your opponent to feel where they are moving next.
- And the list goes on.
This is why the masses say, “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for everyone.”
But to offer you the other side of the coin –
Who Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is Not Good For
BJJ may be for everyone, but everyone is not for BJJ. Although this flexible sport can adapt to novice and expert students, there are conditions under which BJJ may not be the best discipline for you to practice.
The reasons you may not be well-suited to the sport may include:
- You are Easily Discouraged, or You are an Impatient Student – This sport will not be an easy exercise to prove how quickly you’ve become an exceptional grappler. BJJ will take time to master, and it will not be an overnight success. If you get easily discouraged when you are not succeeding at something right away, this may not be the best activity for you.
Because it is a complex sport, it will take time to grow your proficiencies. But once you do, you will feel an even greater sense of pride for dedicating yourself to something that is not easy. That is the real reward.
- You Want to Stand and Strike – Since BJJ is focused on floor grappling and getting your opponent to the ground, this will not be the best sport if you want to learn to strike, hit, or box with your opponent. In these cases, you will be better-suited for MMA disciplines such as boxing, karate, and Judo.
- You are Already Training – BJJ can assist in your coordination, balance, and strength; therefore, it is a wonderful addition to other disciplines. However, if you are in a tournament setting or training very intensely, you shouldn’t throw in other disciplines during this vigorous period of training. By throwing too much at your body at once, you can easily overtrain and suffer the opposite effects of what you were seeking, such as noticeably weaker arms, less strength, and diminished focus.
- You Have Bad Shoulders, Elbows, Upper Body Injuries, etc. – You may think of BJJ as being hard on your knees, but you actually spend a large amount of the time on your back, so there’s no one submitting to you while on your knees for the most part. Most often, they will place submissions on your arms and elbows. Therefore, if you are weak or have recently sustained an injury on your elbows or arms, you may want to take it easy and avoid BJJ.
To be clear – even with an arm injury, your opponent is not snapping your arm backward. They will tap it, and you surrender at the notion that they’ve locked you (and won). Despite not having huge shoulder and elbow risks, it’s still better to play it safe if you are still healing.
Regarding someone that says, “I don’t have strong arms,” – They will get stronger. If someone says, “I’m too short,” – BJJ is on the ground, and there are no pairings made based on height. Excuses like this are irrelevant in this sport. The point is that there are usually no great excuses for someone not to do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is where the expression that it is, ‘for everyone,’ comes from.
Final Verdict: Is BJJ Worth It?
If Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not the best fit for your needs, don’t beat yourself up about that. No one can tell you what is ‘worth it’ to you or not.
BJJ may be worth it to you if you’re:
- Seeking to gain coordination, athleticism, balance, and strength.
- Patient and willing to wait for significant success and progress.
- Looking for a practice that challenges you mentally and physically.
- Wanting an athletic community to grow and improve in.
BJJ may not be worth it to you if you’re:
- Seeking a more budget-friendly activity.
- Wanting to street fight, strike, and spar (not grapple).
- Looking for a fast turnaround or quick results.
- Already heavily committed to a sport and want to avoid overtraining and injury.
The more you train, the better you will become, and you will notice a distinct difference in your ability to focus. BJJ (and all MMA disciplines) teaches you to release stress and the daily noise in our heads to focus on the task at hand with clarity. It will be worth it to you if you can see it for what it is.
BJJ is accessible to anyone, so you will have to determine for yourself what is valuable and ‘worth it,’ based on your personal goals, budget, and activity preferences.
If you do not think BJJ is ‘worth it,’ to you, you probably aren’t that interested in the first place. It might be boring to you, too expensive, or too slow-paced. Regardless of the reason (or lack thereof), be honest with yourself and decide without self-judgment.
There are 170+ additional martial arts disciplines to choose from, so there will absolutely be one suited to your goals. Do some searching and experiment with each to determine the right fit for you!