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Why BJJ? - Real World, Functional Strength!

(Published April 25, 2022)

Functional fitness/strength training is all the rage nowadays. When you ask people to define it, they usually give you something along the lines of developing strength in movements and ranges of motion that enable you to go about the activities of everyday life as easily and effectively as possible. 

Based on that definition, the goal of functional fitness is not to help you lift insanely heavy weights, to get a six pack, or to look like the next Marvel Movie Action Superhero.  

But, when you see the words functional fitness or functional strength training in an advertisement you’ll see images of folks in action hero shape, complete with six pack abs, performing absolutely grueling tasks and lifting insanely heavy weights.

Ready for anything everyday life throws at you somehow became ready for the zombie apocalypse!

It’s not enough to say you’ll get in shape. This product will turn you into a Navy SEAL, Batman and James Bond, all rolled into one. In other words, this product will turn you into such a badass that after taking one look at you, nobody in their right mind would ever dream of messing with you.

Look at an advertisement for just about any workout or piece of fitness equipment nowadays with the word functional attached to it, and you’re likely to see claims like the following:

  • The single best workout/strength building/conditioning tool for fighters
  • Develop all-purpose strength to easily handle the toughest and most unexpected demand
  • Maximize stamina because the last round decides all
  • Watch in amazement as you hack the fat off your body
  • Forge a fighter's physique

That last one cracks me up. “Forge a fighter’s physique… because form must follow function!”

I had buddy who once told me, “I don’t do CrossFit to look like I do CrossFit. I do CrossFit so that I can eat like I do, and still look like this.”

Call me crazy, but I respect that a whole lot more than someone who spends hours lifting weights with the goal of looking like he could beat you up.

Here’s an idea. If you want to look like a fighter, and form must necessarily follow function, you could try… I don’t know… fighting?

I guess what it all comes down to is would you rather be the man or just look the part? 

If you really want real world functional of strength, I don’t think you can go wrong with BJJ. 

Years of doing any physical activity generally makes you better at that activity. If that activity involves strength, you generally get stronger. Grappling in general, and Jiu-Jitsu in particular are no different.

In BJJ, you are basically moving another body around that wants to be moved. That’s about as functional as it gets in my book. I'm not saying you'll become the world's strongest man, but you can’t help but get stronger doing it. And it’s one heck of a lot more fun than spending hours at the weight rack in my humble opinion.

Oh by the way, if form really does follow function, then it’s probably the safest, most effective exercise component you can get to help you build that fighter’s physique, because It’s about as close to fighting as it gets without having to worry about getting hit in the face... the occasional spazzy white belt aside of course.

Just understand that you could end up looking more like Butter Bean, than a young Mike Tyson depending on how many chocolate chip cookies you eat. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


- Mike


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