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Why is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Hard to Learn?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) can be hard to learn if you have no prior experience in martial arts. Like any other sport or skill, BJJ takes time to learn and master. There are really no shortcuts to becoming a master.

It takes a lot of time and dedication to learn and become a master at BJJ. Even though it is said that BJJ is designed for everybody, no matter their physical condition or prior experience in martial arts, it doesn’t mean it is easy.

People learn differently. And even though it might be hard, I am not saying you can not do it. It can be difficult, but if you just stick to it, you can learn it. After you learn it, maybe get a blue belt, you will feel even better to see that your hard work has brought you results.

Why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is hard

At a martial arts scale, I wouldn’t say BJJ is extremely hard to learn. However, it uses your whole body, so that can be very exhausting after a lesson.

Compared to badminton, for example, in badminton you only use one arm regularly. Sure, you need your whole body, but it’s not as intensive as doing BJJ. In BJJ, you use your whole body. No matter if you are left or right-handed, you will need both of those to perform the techniques.

BJJ can also seem even more difficult for beginners. When you first enter the gym and might get tapped out by a lot smaller guy than you, it could seem like an impossible mission.

Keep in mind that they also started from somewhere. Everybody was once a white belt and now they can tap a guy twice their size. It is not a shame to lose to someone who has a lot more experience than you.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be exhausting

At your first few lessons, you might feel really exhausted. BJJ requires your whole body to work and if you are not in a great physical shape (yet), it can feel like a lot to take.

Good news, by sticking to training, your physical condition will improve over time. The best part is that you don’t even have to focus on “working out” you can just train the techniques and roll with others, and your condition will improve almost on itself.

The day after a BJJ lesson, you might feel completely destroyed. Your ears could hurt from being under pressure against the mat. Every muscle in your body might feel sore. Those things get easier as you progress.

Your body will adapt, and you will learn how to not get your head crushed against the mat. You will also learn to use less force and rely more on the techniques. This can make your next mornings a bit easier to get out of bed.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a technical sport

BJJ focuses on beating your opponent with techniques, rather than pure force and strength. This is another reason why BJJ might seem difficult at the beginning. No matter how strong you are, it all comes down to techniques.

I am not saying strength is a bad thing. It just does not hold such a high importance in BJJ as it does in boxing, for example.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu takes time to learn and master

Like I said before, like any other sport or skill, BJJ takes time to learn and master. The lessons can be long, 90 minutes or even longer, if you stay after to roll with others.

On top of that, it can take years before you see anything else than a white belt. Black belt can take decades. It all depends on how fast you can learn, how often you learn, and how committed you are.

How to start learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu

The best way, in my opinion, is to start by going to a local BJJ gym and testing the waters. If you do not yet feel confident enough to go, I have a few other things you can do.

Start by watching some basic BJJ tutorials from YouTube. Those can give you a clearer image of what BJJ is actually about.

I also have a dedicated post on how you can learn BJJ at home. You can read it here.

Final thoughts

All that being said, BJJ might seem harder than you thought at first. It becomes easier overtime, and no matter your starting conditions, you can learn it. Keep going to the lessons and sticking to it and eventually, it will become easier.

So, is BJJ, after all, so hard? It depends on your expectations and how you define hard. It is always a challenge to learn something now without any prior experience. Sure, it will take time to learn, but is it really harder than learning to play piano? I wouldn’t know, since I don’t know how to play piano.

Other BJJ-related posts can be found here.

Hopefully this was helpful to you, have a nice day.


What is Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that focuses on ground fighting. This means it focuses on taking the fight to the ground and finishing the fight with joint locks or chokeholds. Brazilian jiu-jitsu was developed around 1920’s, and was modified from judo. Nowadays, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an essential martial art for MMA.

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