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Every practitioner you ask will have a different answer, and many will have a multi-part answer. I decided to take BJJ for several reasons, including to increase my level of physical activity, spend some quality time with people I care about, and most practically, for self-defense.

Physical activity is obviously healthy for utilizing muscles that aren’t exercised at my desk job. It also helps my brain stay balanced through the release of endorphins. Therefore, I must have some kind of exercise in my life.

Quality time is very important for maintaining my closest relationships; since my spouse also has a desk job and needs the physical activity, BJJ is a great thing for us to learn together. It gives us another topic to discuss, and as we continue training and learning, there is unlimited opportunity for discussion. Some people have joked that it gives us a place to work out our frustrations with each other, but it’s not like that for us. We are a well-balanced team, and BJJ is another link between us.

Why is BJJ good for an average woman to learn? Self defense. You might be an alert, “good” girl, being right where you are supposed to be in a place that should be safe; there may be a predator nearby, masquerading as a decent law-abiding citizen. But what are you going to do when he shows himself for the worthless *$#&@ he really is? What if there is no one else around to hear your screams? If you don’t know how to quickly and efficiently defend yourself, you may spend years trying to repair the damage. 

Yes, self-defense seminars are definitely a wise thing to attend. However, in the unexpected event of an attack, the person who has spent hundreds of hours practicing BJJ will undoubtedly perform better than a person who spent a few hours a year or two ago learning a few self-defense basics.

Of all the combative sports a person can practice, such as boxing, Karate, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, wrestling, etc., BJJ looked to me like the one most practical for an underdog to use in an emergency (and survive with the least scars). With Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a smaller person can turn a fight in her favor using her weight and leverage efficiently, placing bony arms and shins in optimal places, and by understanding how to perform a choke or put some serious hurt on knees, elbows, and shoulders. 

With so many benefits to the art, to me the question we really should be asking is, “why aren’t more people learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?”

– Susan O.
Balanced Bodies Jiu Jitsu Student
and Yoga Practitioner

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