The Hidden Benefits of Jiu Jitsu Training

“I have a lot more confidence and I can handle myself in highly stressful and tense situations”

What do you think are the benefits of training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Most people would say fitness, self defence, maybe competitions and winning medals. But there’s a whole other side to training that is rarely seen. The mental changes that take place in an individual are just as important as the physical ones.

Aaron Farrell is a Homeless Support Worker in Dublin’s inner city. As a young man in a highly stressful and important job, his Jiu Jitsu training has helped him cope with the demands of working long hours in a situation that can often be tense, and sometimes turn violent.

He’s open about his past experience when tensions boiled over. “I work in a very hostile environment, and when things kicked off there, which it does every day, I’d find myself shelling up and being very reluctant to face it”.

The pressure cooker of one of Dublin’s busiest homeless shelters isn’t an environment many of us face in our day to day lives, but for Aaron, dealing with potentially violent incidents is just part of the job. Dealing with stress is difficult for anyone, but Aaron has found Jiu Jitsu has helped. “Since I started training I have a lot more confidence and I can handle myself in highly stressful and tense situations” the 21 year old said, and while he was keen to point out that compassion is the number one quality he requires in his work, he also accepts there is a hazardous side.

“I know that if things were to get physical there, which it could, I’d be able to defend myself a lot better than I would with Jiu Jitsu training behind me.”

But it’s not just dealing with violent situations that has Aaron hooked on Jiu Jitsu. He recently competed in the 2017 Irish Open Championships and took home a bronze medal, a great achievement for someone training less than a year.

“It felt great to get the medal. It was my first taste of competition outside of the gym and it gave me a real sense of achievement. I never went looking to get a medal but it was nice to get one.”

Although he’s quick to point out that winning isn’t the be all and end all, “For me, the aspect of going out and winning isn’t important but I do see competition important for development. Seeing other people’s styles and implementing what you learned in training into a competitive situation. I learned so much in my 3 matches at the Irish open that I took back to training.”

Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is as much a mental process as a physical one, something which Aaron recognises. “Since I’m still new to Jiu Jitsu almost every technique I learn in training is brand new to me. So learning a new technique and being able to use it in a sparring round is cool.”

Aaron is a graduate of the Kyuzo Beginner Brazilian Jiu Jitsu programme. The next intake of the programme is Monday September 4th. Enrollment is open now.

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