Can Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Make You Tough?

Many people are flocking to BJJ, and are wondering: can Brazilian Jiu Jitsu make you tough? Well, we’ll have a look at the issue!

Can Brazillian Jui Jitsu Make You Tough?

The Wrong Way Of Thinking

Lots of people start martial arts classes every day, and there are a multitude of reasons why people choose to do so.

One of the many reasons is that many people think that learning a fighting art is going to make them a “tougher” person.

A lot of the time, there’s nothing wrong with the notion per se – and martial arts are indeed great ways of increasing your physical ability and self confidence.

However, going into a martial art because you want to become the toughest person on the block is the wrong way to approach things.

And, indeed, good martial arts schools will quickly teach their students about one of the most important things with regards to fighting – namely, why you shouldn’t do it!

The physical skill that practitioners of martial arts, including BJJ, can all achieve, is undoubtedly of use in bodily confrontations – there’s no denying the utility of BJJ in many fights!

However, all serious martial artists know that BJJ, as well as any other worthwhile martial art studied seriously, is also an extremely humbling experience.

BJJ will make you a better fighter, and if you’re able to stay calm and use what you’ve learned, you’ll at least find yourself at a better starting point in a fight than someone who isn’t at all trained.

BJJ will also, however, teach you why fighting in real life is such a terrible idea in general!

It’s a very humbling experience to be ragdolled and controlled by a BJJ practitioner, and it can be tempting to think that the more BJJ you know, the “tougher” you are.

But the more you roll, the more you learn that, in a real fight, things can go badly wrong.

And the more likely you’ll learn to respect the ability to avoid fighting even more – as you’ll have had more experience than most people of just what fighting is really like.

Real Fighting Vs Fantasy

As said before, wanting to be “tough” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the idea often comes from a place of misunderstanding.

The simple fact is that you can be the “toughest” guy on the planet, but you’re still not going to be able to fight the world. Nor should it even be a consideration!

If you’ve never done a martial art before, it can be easy to fool yourself into thinking that you can do 6 months of training and become “tough”.

It’s not gonna happen. You’ll be fitter, more capable, and more prepared. You’ll feel like you can take the world on.

And then the first punch hits you in the mouth, and all of your training goes out of the window, and you panic.

Even legendary boxer Mike Tyson knew this! When asked what his plan was for a fight with Evander Holyfield, he replied “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Can Brazillian Jui Jitsu Make You Tough?

Not to mention that even if you do win the fight, you might still face legal issues that, once the heat of the moment has passed, will sour the win to say the least.

Real fighting is a stupid, stupid idea. Life-altering injuries can happen to anyone at the drop of a hat, no matter how “tough” they think they are.

And while BJJ will certainly prepare you for a real world confrontation, no amount of rolling on the mat will match up to what a real fight can be like.

And this is certainly not to suggest that BJJ is fantasy fighting! It’s one of the most useful martial arts, and will certainly be a benefit to anyone who chooses to train in it.

But the idea of being “tough”? That goes out of the window the first time you end up sat on by a 250lb beast who knows as much as you do, but is bigger, heavier, and stronger.

The most important thing that BJJ can teach you is how humbling fighting can be, even in a controlled environment.

You will end up in some situations during your training that you simply aren’t going to be able to escape – and you’ll be glad that you took your humbling in a controlled environment, rather than on the street where things are far more serious.

What BJJ Can Do For You?

First of all, as previously mentioned, BJJ will teach you how bad an idea fighting is, no matter how trained you are in it!

You’ll (hopefully) forget quickly about any idea of “toughness”, and start to get a realistic assessment of what you and your body can do.

You’ll have times where you’re completely in control, and times where you’ll feel completely at somebody else’s mercy.

And you’ll understand why “toughness” is far less important than being smart, being realistic, and keeping a cool head.

BJJ will improve your self confidence, and make you feel like you’re more capable. And you’ll certainly learn some things that will make you better able to defend yourself should the need arise.

And you’ll hopefully never use them! The more you know about fighting, the more you’ll understand why self-confidence and arrogance aren’t the same thing.

You’ll forget about “toughness”, and you’ll focus on improving yourself and your skills.

And most importantly of all, you’ll hopefully learn about why it’s far better not to have the fight in the first place – and why it’s better to at least have some knowledge of fighting than none at all.

BJJ won’t replicate a real world fight, but it will get you closer than most people get in their lives – and you’ll do it week after week.

All in all, BJJ is a fantastic martial art to learn, and well worth your time. Just remember, it won’t make you a fighting god – but it will teach you why, almost every time, you’d be much better off being a conflict avoidance god.


BJJ is great for a lot of things -and hopefully, one of them will be making you forget about “toughness”!

Christopher Anderson
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