Two beginner students having fun while in a beginner jiu jitsu class

How Jiu Jitsu Can Help With Stress Relief and Overcoming Life’s Challenges

Among the many reasons to take up Jiu Jitsu, one of the greatest of all, is stress relief. This is part of the reason your every day working professionals are choosing to take up what is often referred to as “The Gentle Art”. From your construction worker to your stay at home mom or CEO’s and executives alike many people are taking up this amazing art as a great way to stay in shape and most importantly take care of their mental health. We believe this to be true, not only from witnessing it firsthand but also from experience. One of our founders, Steve Hargett (Jiu Jitsu black belt under sensei Xande Ribeiro), is a combat veteran who has served in the United States Marine Corps and can attribute much of his success, in regards to how he has dealt with and overcome his PTSD, to the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle.


After having spent years watching kids and adults develop inside and out on the Martial Arts path towards the best versions of themselves, there is no questioning the power of Jiu Jitsu to positively elevate one’s physical and mental state. This is why we decided to give you a 10 part series on the reasons that Jiu Jitsu will help you relieve stress and overcome life’s challenges.


One of the first ways that Jiu Jitsu will help you relieve stress is the component of exercise. Being physically fit will not only relieve stress but it will improve your ability to tolerate it. This is why many accomplished people (Actors Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, Comedian Kevin Hart, Apple CEO Tim Cook, TV icon Oprah Winfrey) attribute their heightened mental state to “working out” first thing in the morning. This helps us receive the release of important chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. This allows our brain to achieve the ideal mental state necessary for accomplishing tasks and showing up to work energized and motivated. Think of how much better your day will be from starting out feeling great!


It’s not difficult to see that the benefits of exercise in regards to your mental health are undeniable. As a matter of fact, one of the most recommended activities by psychologists is to engage regularly in physical exercise. This is necessary to not only develop a consistent routine, something the brain craves, but to experience the feeling of accomplishment that we all need to feel confident and motivated to keep moving in the right direction. 


A recent study by Harvard showed that just walking 15 minutes a day resulted in a decrease of up to 30% in major depression. This tells us that you don’t have to be a professional athlete, run a marathon or do CrossFit to reap the benefits of a regular exercise program. In fact, creating a sustainable program that you are able to execute consistently in order to keep progressing towards your goals and feeling like your best self. 


The problem for many is that they possess an unhealthy relationship with exercise which can stem from quite a few things. 


  1. They work out too hard which can lead to injuries or taking multiple days off in between training sessions. 
  2. They are responsible for their program which can become difficult to execute on days where the stress level is high. 
  3. The training program is not built around honing a solid skillset in the fundamentals that will keep exercise fun and constantly evolving as they improve in different areas.
  4. Training is not viewed as essential or a priority so they allow it to slip which can result in a bad state of mind which prevents them from ever starting again, or when they do they quit. 
  5. One of the most common things we hear is a negative association with exercise because their experience has showed them that rather than training being about health, longevity and feeling good it leaves them sore (even unable to walk!) or even results in an injury (we have heard some real horror stories when it comes to this!). 


This is unfortunate because of the host of benefits that can come from exercise. That’s why we believe that training should be approached a very specific way.


  1. First and foremost, training should be safe. This is critical for supporting the consistency needed to stay on the path of improvement and experience the long term benefits. There is absolutely no reason to take on unnecessary injuries in a training environment. The training should be designed to challenge the athletes without any ego involved. A proper training program is meant to progress you to the highest abilities you are capable of by making you less susceptible to injuries. 
  2. Training is meant to be guided. This is why a good sensei or instructor is needed. As a coach, your main goal is to improve the lives of your students. This undertaking is not only technical, there is a lifetime of studying and training that goes into directing the path of the student to develop the proper mindset and habits necessary for them to experience progress and achieve their goals. 
  3. Structure is important to maintain order within the academy. Without rules and organization there is a lack of discipline and efficiency. As Martial Artists the qualities developed should reach far beyond the mats. Students must learn proper dress code, how to address sensei/instructor, being timely and many other skills within the school which will carry into their outside lives. The results of this will only be positive. Think of attending a job interview and not knowing how to dress, how to greet your potential employer or look them in the eyes. As you can imagine, that wouldn’t go so well!
  4. “If it’s important you’ll make time, if it’s not you’ll make excuses.” This quote is great because it communicates the importance of prioritizing the changes you are looking to make into your life. The path to black belt is not for everyone so if it not going to be your major focus it may not be the time to put your effort into it.
  5. We believe that if activities are “FUN” you are more likely to keep doing them especially on the days where you don’t feel like it. This is especially true for the journey of Jiu Jitsu which is long and hard. Kids who are active and engage in physical activities have been shown to be much happier while kids who sit around on their technological devices are at greater risk of developing symptoms of depression along with obesity and other negative effects. This is why we strive to create a fun and positive atmosphere where people of all ages, experience levels and backgrounds can get together to train and follow the path of self improvement on the road to black belt.


If you are reading this, and exercise is not yet a part of your life, we hope you begin to incorporate it into your lifestyle. The benefits will not only be tremendous but you are almost guaranteed to see near immediate effects on your mood and overall happiness even as soon as your first workout. There are of course, factors that may prevent this, such as starting in a way that is not sustainable. Our recommendation is always to look for a good sensei or coach who will guide you towards the right path, knowing when to push you and when to back off. Another factor is being surrounded by the right people (community) who want to see you succeed and reach your goals whether that is to be feel better, learn how to defend yourself, or get stronger or just meet new people. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone has their own reasons for implementing an exercise routine and it is even more so to know what yours is. Having a “why” is vital especially to remind yourself of why you started your journey on the days you don’t feel like keeping up with your commitment. We hope this post helps you take that first initial step in getting started and wish you the best of luck in on your path to feeling better and discovering your greatness! Take care and thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, please share it with someone who needs it so they can enjoy the benefits too!