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Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu hard to learn?

Learning a new martial art can be a daunting process, and it isn't easy to gauge if you are progressing at an acceptable pace. If you are considering learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu(BJJ), you may be wondering how long it will take you to learn the techniques. In this article, you will find answers to people's common questions about how long it takes to learn BJJ for beginners.

Learning any new skill can be challenging, whether it be a new sport or a new office job. But, over time, you will learn and adapt, and your skills will improve. With something more physical like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, different strength and conditioning aspects add to its difficulty.

For many newbies, BJJ feels terribly hard. Being on the receiving end during every training session is not much fun either since you are always on the defence, leaving you feeling weary and discouraged. Granted, learning a new skill takes a bit of time, but why does BJJ's learning curve feel incredibly steep?

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is an art that not many people are familiar with. In addition, it has grappling techniques, which make it difficult for beginners to grasp quickly. Jiu-jitsu students will learn how to take someone down and fight on the ground in class; this takes time because they may be working against more experienced opponents than they themselves have been before.

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or "BJJ" for short, is a martial arts and combat sport that focuses on ground fighting, originating from the Japanese martial arts Kodokan Judo, knight jiu-jitsu and Jujutsu. The legendary Gracie family transformed this martial art into the more practical Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil during the early 1900s. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is unique in that it utilizes technique, leverage, and ground fighting to make it possible to defeat opponents that may be bigger or stronger than you.

In a sense, it is a "game of human chess" implementing hundreds of concepts and techniques that you learn through years of training. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has gained rapid popularity in the last 30 years with the rise of combat sports such as MMA, which often utilizes the BJJ discipline. You may be wondering, "how long does it take to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?". This can be a complicated question to answer completely, but this blog will give you more insight into your future BJJ journey.

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Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Difficult To Learn?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is difficult to learn for beginners because it is a very different type of martial art. It is also a combat sport, which will be uncomfortable at first if you're not used to it. However, as your body becomes more familiar with the movements, it will be easier to learn new techniques as there are many crossovers!

BJJ is a martial art originally designed for anyone to learn, regardless of their weight, size or fitness level. In this regard, it is not hard to learn because there are no prerequisites, and it does not rely on your own strength. However, BJJ does require patience, hard work and discipline if you want to be good.

Instructors will often teach a technique in one class, allow time to practice, and then move on to another technique by the next class. This puts the responsibility on the student to practice these techniques between classes.

In addition to this, if you are attending three sessions per week, learning a new technique each time, it will still take years to master every Jiu-Jitsu technique. For this reason, it is expected that BJJ practitioners will undergo an individual study to learn new techniques.

Therefore, although BJJ is not physically hard to learn, the dedication required to improve your technique can be difficult for many people.

When you're new, you're also going to be going up against others more experienced than you. They will beat you for a while, which can be frustrating. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires hours of practice before you start understanding how it works and the strategy behind it. It can be rough at first but also very rewarding once you start to find your rhythm.

What Makes Learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Difficult?

Learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is difficult because many of the movements will feel unnatural or unfamiliar to your body. Learning a new technique consists of many small details to perform the technique correctly and learning how to move your body to perform that technique.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a ground-based martial art where you use various non-violent techniques to force your opponent into submission. The name actually translates to "gentle art," but that doesn't mean it is physically gentle.

Whereas most combat sports involve striking and kicking, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an art that emphasizes the use of chokes, grappling, and joint manipulations to get your opponent to quit before you do.

There are so many different aspects to this popular ground-based martial art. If you've never done any combat sport, then this is going to be quite a shock to you. Although it's an excellent place to start because there isn't any striking, it can still rough you up and takes a lot of commitment to learning. 

Physically and Mentally Exhausting

As a newbie, it's normal to be fearful about trying new techniques while training. But this is a mistake. Yet, sparring is challenging when you have little knowledge about what you are supposed to be doing. This is more so when fighting with a heavier person or more experienced practitioner. It puts you on the defensive, making you feel intimidated, frustrated, and stressed.

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Training in BJJ is a true test of your mental strength, willpower, and physical might. By pulling you from your comfort zone time and time again, jiu-jitsu forces you to dig deeper into yourself to avoid tapping out. What's more, when you eventually do, you get up, ready to roll on the mat once more.

How long does it take to get a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

To answer the question, "how long does it take to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?" it's important to understand that for most, studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a lifelong journey rather than a beginning and endpoint. Earning the designation of a BJJ black belt is the ultimate goal. Earning a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an extremely difficult task, which requires years of hard work, discipline, and dedication. 

On average, it takes someone anywhere from 10 to 15 years to earn a black belt in BJJ. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. Famously, MMA fighter BJ Penn earned his black belt in just 3 years and 4 months, making him one of the fastest men ever to achieve the rank of black belt. For most, this type of progression is highly unlikely.  

Beginners start out as white belts and often are given stripes as they progress, though this may depend on the school you train at. The blue belt is the second belt you receive as a BJJ practitioner, which displays knowledge of several different techniques resulting from hundreds of hours of consistent training.

When asking the question, "how long does it take to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" this may be the point at which you are considered to have a basic understanding and the correct implementation of BJJ. A blue belt is usually achieved within 1 to 2 years of consistent training. 

How To Make BJJ More Enjoyable?

To make your jiu-jitsu journey more fun, you need to have the right mindset. Next, work on your defence and keep improving your technique to excel in the practice. Here are more tips:

  • Always learn from your mistakes and work on fixing them.
  • Avoid focusing on winning and try learning as much as possible instead.
  • Whenever you learn a new technique in class, try applying it immediately during sparring.
  • Go easy on yourself if you keep failing or tapping out to belts lower than you. Always maintain a positive mindset. 

Can You Learn Jiu-Jitsu by Yourself? 

You cannot become fully competent in Jiu-Jitsu by yourself. You need to practice your techniques with another person so that you understand how their body moves in response to your own. Without someone to practice with, you also will not be able to identify any flaws in your technique, which could be detrimental in a real fight situation.

In saying that, you can still learn the theory behind each technique through instructional videos and by practising the basic body movements required. For example, in the Gracie Combatives program, students who are learning independently are instructed to practice triangle choking on their legs instead of a partner's neck.

Are you having a hard time mastering the tricky BJJ techniques? If so, don't be so hard on yourself. Ultimately, you will execute your submissions with the finesse you crave, and once this happens, your enthusiasm will heighten. The moves you used to find so hard will soon become effortless, and you'll be yearning to learn and understand more of them as you progress.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be hard on the body, especially when starting out. To prevent injuries and burnout, it's best to start slow and work yourself up. In addition, BJJ should be paired with traditional exercise on your off days to improve your strength and cardio.

Four martial arts stand out for their black belt demands, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu may be the most demanding. This is because it takes the most amount of time and has the highest level of contact sparring.

Humility is the toughest lesson one can learn from BJJ. It could be especially tough in your first few months of BJJ – you could feel discouraged because you aren't able to execute techniques properly or because you get submitted by other opponents.

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