Five Ways Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the Armed Forces Are Similar

Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training have military applications? It is as natural a question as whether law enforcement has use for BJJ, and the answer is ‘yes’.  For several years now, the Armed Forces have been including BJJ in their close-combat classes. There are a number of similarities between the two.


The principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, much like the tenets of most martial arts, are about balance of the mind, body, and spirit. Like a soldier, a BJJ fighter is not just a weapon, but a force for good. There are rules of engagement on the battlefield, and rules for submission grappling. The stakes may be different, but in both instances, victory stems from a warrior’s code.


Combat is a mindset. Soldiers must be able to visualize and prepare for every eventuality, under extreme stress. By incorporating BJJ into their training, strategy becomes synonymous with survival. Mastery of jiu-jitsu is about overcoming great odds, and using the strength of the enemy against itself, which is how wars are won.


So, how do BJJ techniques specifically fit in with combat training? Think of levers. They are force multipliers. In military science, a force multiplier refers to a factor or a combination of factors that grant troops the ability to accomplish greater feats than without it.

In BJJ, levers are the most efficient way to create openings and attack your opponent’s body. Lever control is especially important because the first person to secure a dominant lever ends up controlling the fight. However, mastery of jiu-jitsu also teaches its students to accomplish this without abusing their position. Imagine if such a code was followed by the powers that be.


BJJ practitioners never stop learning, with defeat being their best teacher. The motto of the U.S. Marine Corps. Is ‘Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome.’ It is part of the martial way, to demonstrate perseverance, an indomitable spirit. Failing is inevitable, but what you do next will define you.

Personal Growth

With BJJ, there is a strong sense of camaraderie, like the bond forged between soldiers. Men and women who enroll in the military tend to come out the other end as an entirely different person, usually for the better. Both the martial arts and the military strive to produce well-rounded individuals who are of use to their community. In both cases, it all comes down to personal growth.

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