Jiu Jitsu: A Sport for the Introvert


We say jiu jitsu is for everyone, but today I’m going to make a case for a group of people that the internet seems to be chock-full of: the introvert.

We all know the concept between introversion and extroversion: I’m not going to go into the definition because really they are unflattering on either side, but you know for the most part what they include. Introverts are seen as quiet, “thoughtful”, borderline anti-social whereas extroverts are seen as loud, boisterous and “excitable”, much like a puppy. In my opinion people are really not one or the other, but more of in the middle, with a particular leaning one way or the other.

Why do I say jiu jitsu is for the introvert? Well, here’s a list of elements someone out there on the internet recommended a sport should have to be truly successful and keep the introvert’s interest:

  • Concentration
  • Precision
  • Self-motivation
  • Intricate skills
  • Individual performances

There was also a mention of “low arousal level”, but that just sounded odd so I took it out. But otherwise, really, if those qualities don’t say “jiu jitsu” all over them, I really don’t know what does. Sure there’s the whole “full body contact” element to the sport, but it’s really not that big of a deal. The real appeal lies in the “human chess” element, the whole puzzle and strategy that needs to be solved during training sessions. And while you do need someone to drill and compete with, it’s more of a one on one basis, which is much easier for an introvert to handle rather than a large group sport where they can feel lost in the crowd.

Some might say the biggest challenge for the introvert would possibly be the aggression needed in jiu jitsu, but personally I feel that falls under “self-motivation”. You are motivated to complete the technique, you are motivated to continue the match and with that aggression I personally feel will follow. Competition may also be a challenge, but that’s nerve-wracking for everyone and can actually be beneficial and helps both the introvert and extrovert.

So that is my case for jiu jitsu and the introvert: it can be an immensely rewarding experience for the introvert, if they are willing to take the chance. And it sure as heck beats other options, like golf.



Filed under bjj

6 responses to “Jiu Jitsu: A Sport for the Introvert

  1. Jon

    Great post, Katie.

    Completely agree with the ambivert statement. I definitely lean from one side to the other depending on the situation and circumstance. And speaking for myself, it’s the “whole puzzle and strategy that needs to be solved during training sessions” that keeps me coming back to class. It’s the challenge of cornering and reducing all the variables on the mat to take Jiu Jitsu from quantum physics to 6th grade algebra that has captured and held my fascination. The improvement in body mechanics, overall fitness, and all that is just extra chocolate sauce on my ice cream.

  2. Love it. I’m an introvert, and I believe its really helped me along in Bjj, for all the reasons you’ve stated. Nice out of the box topic.

  3. Pingback: June 13, 2013 | BJJ News

  4. chris

    Nice article. As an introvert, I agree with your points and have a few more to add.
    – when your rolling, there is no expectation of small talk. If you do need to talk its short and with a point (put your foot a bit higher on my hip). Usually your just focusing on your own body though.
    – contrary to popular belief, introverts do like people and going to class is a great way to meet folks without pressure to be the life of the party. Everyone is there with a common purpose -to learn.

  5. but our introverts sure do talk a lot particularly when another introvert shows a wicked new sweep (or pass or submission).

  6. Pingback: A Skirt on the Mat: Jiu Jitsu-A Sport for the Introvert | Magazine.GiFreak.comMagazine.GiFreak.com | The Life, Community and Culture of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

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