Okay—so I recently started doing jujitsu, and regardless of the challenges I’ve faced—I’m hooked! But why? Jujitsu, also sometimes known as “the gentle art,” is more than just an ancient Japanese grappling style -- it is a life-altering practice that can truly heighten a person physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Read on to find out more about the martial art of Jujitsu, and its benefits for the mind, body, soul and spirit.
Because the history of Jujitsu has been passed down orally, its exact origins are not exactly clear. Records of the traditional Japanese combat technique have been said to date as far back as 2000 years ago. The art combines Japanese martial arts, which is said to have been used on the battlefield during close combat situations when weapons were ineffective. There are many types and variations of Jujitsu today, with Brazilian Jujitsu being one of the most popular. I currently train under the 10th Planet system of Jujitsu which uses a non-traditional style of Jujitsu and does not require the traditional Jujitsu clothing known as a “gi.” People usually choose a style based on their needs and desired goals.
I’ve often heard people refer to Jujitsu as being like a game of chess. My Jujitsu instructor, Sam Hardy, mentioned how people who practice Jujitsu constantly need to problem solve and figure out ways to either submit someone or prevent themselves from being submitted, while still maintaining a sense of level-headedness. He considers Jujitsu to be a mentally-challenging art that is not merely centered around physical, brute strength, but mindfulness and technique. You learn techniques on how to take down people who are much bigger in size as well as strength. As my instructor said, “You learn to never judge people by their appearances.” In addition, you also learn a lot about yourself, and how to closely interact with people from different walks of life. Learning Jujitsu techniques is not easy, and it really forces you to remove any preconceived ideas or roadblocks that may cause mental limitations.
Jujitsu is definitely a workout for the body! As someone who runs regularly, I must tell you that there are times when I have more sweat dripping off me during a Jujitsu class than after completing a few miles at the track. The practice requires a lot of conditioning, flexibility, core strength, and hard work from the body. Because of this, my instructor greatly stresses the importance of self-care. To keep up in class, your body requires you to take on good habits such as eating a proper diet, using good posture, giving yourself plenty of sleep, or drinking adequate amounts of water to stay hydrated. Many people choose to incorporate other practices like breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation into their Jujitsu training. This martial art is great for helping a person build and maintain a healthy body.
When my instructor told me about an enthusiastic student who said Jujitsu is compassion, I had to really think about this. If compassion is what happens when we feel concern for the sufferings of others, then the student was right. In Jujitsu, you are provided the opportunity to understand as well as experience the pain in some of the techniques you use on others. In a sense, you become more aware and concerned about how much suffering or pain a person feels. One of the main reasons a lot of people join Jujitsu is to learn how to stop someone from harming them or others without causing serious injury or even death. Something else the soul learns in Jujitsu is how to trust. You are often faced with having to leave your comfort zone, entrusting your body to complete strangers, and embracing the unknown. Because Jujitsu can help you feel more secure and in control of your mental, physical, and emotional well-being, it can do wonders for your self-confidence.
This practice often reminds me of what it truly means to be peaceful. Something my instructor said regarding Jujitsu and its spiritual impact was that it allowed him to wear calmness in everyday stressful situations. Although some would say that it helps to kill the ego, I would say that Jujitsu helps to better control it, and keep it in balance. When learning Jujitsu, one of the many things you are taught is how to stay humble. Just when I think I may have mastered humility, Jujitsu points out to me that I have only scratched its virtuous surface. Traditionally, many people have decided to use Jujitsu for spiritual enlightenment. While it can be used as a form of self-expression for some, others include the art in their daily spiritual practice.
Jujitsu is certainly a martial art worth exploring! Although I would recommend finding a place somewhere in your area that teaches Jujitsu, you can also access classes online as well. Whatever your reasoning for coming into the practice of Jujitsu, one thing is certain: you will leave better than when you first arrived.