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Why People Feel Like Jiu Jitsu “Saved Their Life"

Human beings adapt to their environment as a basic survival method to overcome the rigors of the world and progress as a species. Humans were meant to hunt and gather to survive. Out in the wild if our daily survival routine put massive strain on our bodies, our muscles would grow as an adaptation to handle the stress and carry on. If we spent most of our days hunting and gathering under the sun our skin would adapt and darken to handle the heat. Humans over thousands of years have evolved through adaptation from a primitive style of life.

Over time as society became more civilized much of the world we humans were built to grow from and withstand has been taken away and replaced with something far more comfortable. Every day the majority of people spend their days indoors working a meaningless desk job or for some big corporation who could care less about them. Our DNA has us ready to overcome the stress of finding a way to eat or fight for our shelter. We instead find ourselves stressing over things like, “Was I supposed to add one or two extra pumps of vanilla syrup to this person’s Iced Caramel Macchiato?” Our way of growing stronger and faster is through artificial training in gyms running on treadmills and lifting weights, rather than running to catch our prey and then carrying pounds of meat to our hopefully nearby village.

Many might say this is a great thing, and part of it is. Most of us don’t spend everyday wondering if this will be our last day, and that’s awesome. However, it leaves a part of us missing. Adapting to a docile life of being indoors or working for someone doing something you hate leaves us absolutely MISERABLE. The same way a human being adapts to their environment in a world of hunting/gathering, humans also adapt to the environment of their everyday boring day job thus creating a depressed and unhealthy generation of people. Most of us don’t even know how miserable we are because we have nothing else to compare our current life to. This is where something as small as training Jiu Jitsu, or any martial art for that matter, can completely change someone’s life. Combat training allows us to get out of the normal daily life of a civilized human being and connect to our primitive selves.

The first time someone rolls they often find themselves completely gassed out. I’ve often had a new student tell me they had to sit in the parking lot for awhile to recover before they could drive home after their first rolling session. People are so unadapted to that sort of strain in a combative setting that their bodies are completely shocked from it. When people first start training they’ll find themselves extremely sore days after their session. Over time, as people start to get used to the training those little coin sized bruises start to go away, mat burn happens less and less, and people are able to train and roll without their muscles staying insanely tense the whole way through. Things begin to click as they start to improve and they get their first couple taps.

That’s when a whole new level of serotonin hits the brain. You become addicted. You build a close sense of comradery with your training partners, grow stronger in a different way, and find yourself thinking about Jiu Jitsu the whole time you’re working your shift at the local Starbucks.

*Photo taken at 10th Planet San Antonio by Jose Vela*

We no longer live a life of hunting and gathering and until the next apocalypse we probably won’t return to it. Combat training such as Jiu Jitsu allows us to connect to our primitive self in another way. People begin to eat healthier and workout with purpose behind it aside from merely looking good. Friendships and rivalries are built and goals are created. Jiu Jitsu is a magnet for people who are lost in life, heart broken, or just need something more out of their lives. Jiu Jitsu allows us to live part of the lifestyle human beings were meant to live which creates for us a whole new satisfaction money can’t buy.


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