Demi Lovato recently shared her latest accomplishment on Instagram. The pop star revealed she now holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), which is the second of seven levels.
"I'm so beyond excited because I just received my blue belt in #brazilianjiujitsu!!!!” Lovato captioned her Instagram pic. "I fell in love with #BJJ over a year ago and have been training several times a week ever since."
The "Skyscraper" singer trains in several different types of fighting, from boxing to Muay Thai, but she particularly likes the specific style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, telling US Weekly that she finds the sport "therapeutic" for her mind as well as her body.
Curious if trying a combat sport like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for you? Here's everything you need to know about BJJ.
What Is "BJJ" Exactly?
According to Black Belt Magazine, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a "martial art and combat sport that teaches a smaller person how to defend himself against a larger adversary by using leverage and proper technique." Founded in the early 1900s by the Gracie family, a prominent martial arts family from Brazil, BJJ stems from Judo and traditional Japanese jujutsu. Though the style contains stand-up maneuvers, it's mostly known for its intense ground-fighting techniques, including chokes, holds, and locks.
The Physical Benefits
BJJ is a great workout for overall body conditioning because it involves all the parameters of functional fitness: cardiovascular activity, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. Because your workout will never be the same twice, you won't get bored easily. As Lovato told Self Magazine: "Sometimes I get really bored when I do just an hour of cardio, so sometimes I struggle with boredom,” she explained. "But that’s why I like to train MMA, because it keeps it exciting."
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Sure, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu might be more unconventional than pumping iron at the gym, but the resistance you encounter while fighting your opponent will definitely improve your strength, while also increasing and improving muscle tone. Not to mention rolling -- which is the practice of wrestling for position and submission in BJJ -- works your core strength and balance in a way that your Pilates class never will.
The Mental Benefits
There's a reason why the "Confident" singer feels, well, confident after a BJJ workout. Surpassing your limits and reaching your goals -- like nabbing a blue belt, for example -- is an instant confident booster, not to mention taking down an opponent will make you feel like Wonder Woman.
Need extra help with your problem solving skills? BJJ is excellent for that, too. Because it involves needing to be several steps ahead of your opponent, while figuring out which techniques would work best, there's no wonder it's often called the human game of chess.
Plus grappling someone to the ground after a case of the Mondays is an awesome, yet safe, way to vent your frustrations.
Truth: BJJ will beat you up. It is a combat sport, after all. Your back, neck, and hands will probably cop the most damage, which is why you might want to squeeze in an extra yoga class or two. Yoga helps martial arts practitioners by improving flexibility and balance, while reducing recovery time when injured.
If you're anything like Lovato -- who said of her passion for martial arts, "I think it’s really cool to learn something that helps you with self-defense" -- and looking for a different kind of challenge and workout, as well as the opportunity to take care of yourself physically, then BJJ might be for you. Though it's definitely not for the faint of heart, it will guarantee you to be a stronger version of yourself, inside and out.
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