It gives you unbelievable confidence. Whether you’re staring down the toughest competition in the gym or the biggest project at work, MMA training will build the confidence to help you tackle that monumental challenge. “Physically, you develop techniques that give you a sense of confidence and capacity in life for any situation,” Gracie says. “You know that you are strong and capable without having to be the biggest or strongest person in the room.”
It teaches you respect. Enduring a competition-based workout like MMA breeds a sense of self-worth and appreciation for your opponents. “Jiu-Jitsu taught me to have respect for the people around me as well as respect for myself,” Gracie says. “It made me believe in my own strengths and knowledge.” Think about it. You and your competitor share the same goal: to take the man across the mat down. But you have to go through each other to get there. With time, you’ll believe in your abilities and appreciate the hard work of your opposition.
It builds total-body strength. No part of your body will be neglected, meaning you’ll be stronger across the board—not just with your arms or your legs. “When I was fighting, each fighter represented a single style of martial arts,” Gracie says, “but today, all the fighters cross-train in different styles to be comfortable in the various dimensions of the fight.” Cross-training prevents any weakspots from appearing, and it will ensure comfortability with every muscle.
It makes you feel invincible. You’ll want to take on the world and welcome any challenge, so long as you carry the same attitude Gracie does. “Something my dad would say was that it’s not important to win, but it’s important to know how not to be defeated,” Gracie says. “The art of invincibility is the most important attribute in Jiu-Jitsu.” Never head into a fight just to win, but make sure you aren’t beat.”