Can Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Help With Anger?

Posted on Posted in FAQ, Jiujitsu Talk

Anger can seem like a great problem solver at first.

People tend to operate in patterns. Our emotional state is interwoven into those patterns. When we take on a difficult task, frustration can easily give way to anger. A sudden burst of energy and focus may actually help accomplish a simple objective. But, we can also do a lot of damage in this state. Sometimes, we hurt ourselves or others. Other times, we break the very thing we are trying to fix.

Anger can give a false sense of security.

Often, someone who doesn’t know any better will talk about anger as a super power. “I would hate to see that guy mad.” “You don’t want to see me angry.” People have several phrases like these that simply mean, uh, stay away. Being angry is more likely to protect you than simply being afraid. Unfortunately, this type of anger is usually toothless. If you use these type of phrases a lot, it’s likely rooted in a fear problem.

Anger is also a natural response to being hurt.

When you stub your toe on a door, it’s totally normal to yell a bit and do a silly dance. Angry people look ridiculous anyway. Hurt can be all kinds of pain, physical and emotional pain cover a myriad of ┬ácategories and descriptions. All can potentially bring out the anger response. Much like the fear response, it seems to protect from more pain.

So, what can bjj do about this?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an ongoing process, we recognize patterns and weigh results. As we get better, we take control of our patterns. Nobody changes instantly, but we gain small bits of confidence every time we train. When situations reoccur on a consistent basis, we gain an understanding of the threats and how to navigate the landscape. A good gym is also a community of decent individuals who are happy to help.

You will better understand how to navigate frustration.

Everyone experiences being buried, totally unable to move. Your instincts will undoubtedly lead you into more trouble. However, you have a coach and training partners who want you to get past this point. Yes, everyone feels good winning. But we also want to be challenged on the way. When you encounter enough small successes, you will be increasingly confident facing bigger challenges. Anger is naturally placed behind other, more effective options. A situation can be analyzed and named. You can weigh possible outcomes and change future patterns based on outcome.

Bjj destroys false ideas about power.

People enjoy training, and are usually in a good mood. Anyone who has silly ideas about the superiority of anger are educated through trial and error. When you make intelligent decisions with measured effort, you will find superior results. Your understanding will be based on battle tested principles of body mechanics and game planning. We all encounter concrete realities, and have to come to terms with them. Everyone tests out their own ideas and theories at their own pace. Anger is increasingly rare, because it’s usually not helpful.

Being hurt is inevitable, but can be minimized.

Bjj is actually very effective for self defense, so you actually do have to learn how to defend yourself. Not always in the ways we think. Tapping and admitting we’re caught is the best first step. This puts us in a place to know our limits and develop past them. We also learn how to keep appropriate space in situations where injury is a possibility. Eventually, we recognize the situations we find ourselves in. Then, we can avoid them or navigate our way out quickly. Everyone also understands that we can’t purposely hurt people and expect them to keep training. This does not mean that everyone is safe to train with, but that our intentions should be to avoid hurting others. In the end, we view pain in a more balanced and understanding way.

The process takes time.

Many people say that day one helped a lot. But meaningful change is not instant. People who train are still human, and have problems like everyone else. But we also have a vehicle to subconsciously improve while learning a legitimately cool skill.