When someone is looking for a new physical activity in which to participate, jiu-jitsu is usually not their first thought. At this point, unless you want to be an MMA fighter, most people do not seek out jiu-jitsu first. Usually, they need to be referred by a friend or they have had previous martial arts experience and developed a deeper interest. It’s unfortunate but it’s true - jiu-jitsu is not a sport that anyone can just see on television. MMA is the closest widely televised sport that you can find in relation to jiu-jitsu. Even then, people can’t fully understand what BJJ truly is because what they see in MMA is not the pure form of the sport.
Think about how you started jiu-jitsu – it probably falls under the two scenarios previously mentioned. Since referral seems to be the most popular form of spreading BJJ, here are some powerful and practical reasons to sway the skeptics.
You can lose weight in a more exciting way than just running on a treadmill.
Usually, adults who are looking to get into a new sport or activity do it for health reasons and/or boredom. They finally looked in the mirror and realized that all those hours at work aren’t really doing much for their body, or they are feeling the impact of being out of shape.
Naturally, their first thought will be to join a gym to run on a treadmill and lift some weights. But as jiu-jitsu folk, we all know that might not take them very far, especially if they have not really done vigorous exercise in the past. Jiu-Jitsu would be a far better alternative because they will get a full-body workout and stave off boredom with the mental challenge. Those two reasons alone should spike a person’s interest in our sport.
Learn how to defend yourself.
A lot of people who see jiu-jitsu for the first time are skeptical about its self-defense aspects. Doubts usually fill their minds: “if you can’t punch or kick, how can you really defend yourself?” or “you don’t wear kimonos on the street.” Considering that they have little martial arts experience, these are valid initial concerns. But usually, the best counter-argument you can give for this is to explain that jiu-jitsu really kicks-in when you are initially attacked, not when you are attacking someone. You shouldn’t be attacking anyone anyway! And how do attacks usually start? They usually come as a surprise. If it is a surprise, it will usually come as either a hit or a tackle. If you are struck by a surprise attack then there isn’t a martial art on earth that can really save you from that moment. But if you’re tackled by surprise, you’ll most likely end up on the ground, or even still be standing.
Either way, as soon as contact is made, your jiu-jitsu will kick-in. Beginners will realize this after they do their first class. They will understand that jiu-jitsu will allow them to neutralize an attack and control their opponent. If you’re in a fight and someone puts up their hands for a boxing match, even if you don’t know boxing you are able to move around, back away, and avoid the situation a lot easier. When you’re tackled to the ground, you can’t run and you can’t move much either. This is where your jiu-jitsu comes into play. This is jiu-jitsu at its most basic form – defending against an attacking opponent.